Mental Health Awareness Month wraps up with a message
By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
January is National Mentoring Month. February is National Bird Feeding Month. April is Jazz Appreciation Month. There are some awareness issues on the list that I have never heard of. Some of them are only given days, while others get a whole month. World turtle day is just around the corner on May 23. There is a day or month for nearly every cause under the sun. So how do you get a day or a month dedicated to your causes? What is the process for that anyhow? Is there a cause committee?
May is Mental Health Awareness month. It is the month that we educate people on mental health issues, and work to reduce the stigma that prevents many people from seeking help. During the month of May, we at Newaygo CMH have published several articles on mental health issues that affect the Newaygo County Community. We hope that these articles have provided information and resources about topics that are important to our everyday lives.
Having designated months and days that commemorate and educate the public about health and social issues are important. These messages serve to remind us that we need to always be aware of health issues that can impact ourselves and our families. These are issues we face 24/7, 365 days a year. Mental Health and Mental Illness doesn’t take a holiday come June. We work every day to ensure that people are able to receive the services they need. Overcoming the stigma of seeking mental health services is a challenge for mental health professionals. Mental Health has come a long way in the past 50 years, but the journey isn’t over.
One of the effects of Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order was an increased social isolation and a lack of access to support systems. During the pandemic people reported increased stress, loneliness, anxiety and depression. Substance use also increased dramatically. Helping people to understand that seeking assistance with issues isn’t a weakness, or a deficit – it is a strength to understand that we can’t do everything alone. Sometimes we need help and guidance. Newaygo CMH is your public mental health center serving residents of Newaygo County. We provide supports to both children and adults that have mental illness, substance use or intellectual and developmental disabilities.
COVID has taught us many lessons, and allowed us to see both the good in people, and the struggles of living in a judgmental society of social media and misinformation. The truth, which always seemed so simple before, is now evasive and hard to find. People wonder who to trust, and who to believe. What was once easy, is now made more difficult by misinformation and misguided facts that constantly bombard our news feeds.
For those who are struggling to cope, please seek help. There are amazing professionals who can help you find resources and assistance.
Every day is Mental Health awareness day. Please take care of yourself and your family – and let us know if we can help. Please call 231-689-7330 for assistance. We are available 24/7 for crises and emergencies.