By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
Since 1949, when National Mental Health month was first observed, we have continued to encourage awareness of mental and emotional health. Mental Health Month for many, is so much more relevant as this year, as we emerge slowly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past few months have been difficult for everyone. Many people have lost jobs they once thought were secure. Students have been unable to participate in activities and spend time with friends. There are so many missed memories for them – prom, Spring sports, plays, graduation ceremonies and parties. Adults have also experienced many losses of activities, hobbies and routines. Even more sadly, many of us have lost dear family members who were not able to overcome this virus.
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 events of the last few months. 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.
As we start the process of rebuilding our lives, please take time to assess your own mental health, and the mental health of those around you. If you are having difficulty coping with loss or the challenges and changes that we have been through, consider seeking help.
There are many ways to access help – churches, on-line, 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 people that do not have Medicaid. If you do not meet criteria for our services, we will assist you with referring you to an appropriate provider that can help you.
I have heard people talk about a “new normal”. “Normal” is what we make it, and how we as a society define it. Our new normal will certainly be different than it was six months ago. This is a resilient community. We have witnessed many examples of the goodness of people during this time. Many meals have been provided to the sick and shut in. There are hundreds of examples of people helping others in need. We have come together as a community to help each other. May that become our new normal.
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 heal from events of the last few months, 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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