By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
May is Mental Health Month! Since 1949, when National Mental Health week was observed, we have continued to encourage awareness of mental and emotional health. As we continue to be embattled by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 needs to be the year of Mental Health and Self Care. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic. Many people have lost jobs they once thought were secure. Adults have also experienced many losses of activities, hobbies and routines. Students have had unpredictability in how their education will continue to be provided. Even more sadly, many of us have lost dear family members and friends that were not able to overcome this virus. Vaccinations are helping us see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still a long way from emerging and finding our new normal.
Because May is Mental Health Month, it is a fitting time to remember that mental health is as important as physical health. It will take time to heal from the trauma many have endured over the last year. Healing is a difficult process to go through alone, or with inadequate supports. It is a difficult process even with the right supports in place. Many more people are suffering with loneliness, addiction and lack of socialization with friends and family. Working from home for some has grown old – they are ready to interact in person again.
If you are having difficulty coping with loss or the challenges and changes we have been through, consider seeking help. There are many ways to access help – churches, on-line support meetings like AA and NA, private counselors and Community Mental Health. Newaygo County Mental Health has been serving this community for almost 50 years. While there are some criteria that people have to meet for services, all of our services are based upon income with a sliding fee scale for those who do not have Medicaid. If you do not meet criteria for our services, we will assist you by referring you to an appropriate provider that can help you.
During the month of May, we will have several articles written by staff of Newaygo CMH about various mental health issues. We look forward to helping the community and to planning for the future. For those interested in seeking assistance, please call 231-689-7330 during office hours for an appointment. As a reminder, Newaygo CMH is available 24/7 for people in crisis. Our crisis line is 231-689-7580. You can also visit our website at www.newaygocmh.org
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