By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. February is American Heart Month, March is National Kidney Month. There are some awareness issues on the list that I have never heard of. Did you know that World Sleep Day is March 13? That World Hand Hygiene Day is May 5? September also has many awareness days, including Healthy Aging, Food Safety, Pain Awareness, amongst others. As I read through the months, and the lists of awareness issues, I realized that we are used to having a specific month as a time of awareness for many issues and causes.
May is Mental Health Awareness month. During the month of May, we at Newaygo CMH have published several articles on coping with COVID, and other 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 that commemorate and educate the public about health and social issues is 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. 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 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. Our world, which had already changed over the last 20 years due to the surge of electronic information, was rocked again with COVID. So many changes in such a short period of time. What will our new normal be? Change is hard for many people – and this change has been extremely difficult to comprehend and accept. It will forever change how we think about crowds and public events. Shaking hands with strangers. Hugging friends. Family reunions. Class reunions. Concerts. What will they look like? No one knows at this point what the future will look like – only that it will be different.
For those who are struggling to cope, please seek help. There are amazing professionals who can help you find resources and assistance. We are all in this together – please do not be afraid to reach out.
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 crisis and emergencies.
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