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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

EastpointeBeulaville– The Eastpointe Board of Directors has issued the Proclamation, May is Mental Health Month. May is Mental Health Month was started 67 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, Mental Health Month materials developed by the advocacy group, Mental Health America (MHA) were seen and used by 19 million people, with more than 5,500 entities downloading MHA’s tool kits.

The 2015 initiative theme of B4Stage4 helped individuals understand that when you address mental health symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives. When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. When people are in the first stage of those diseases and are beginning to show signs or symptoms like a persistent cough, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, we try immediately to reverse these symptoms. We don’t ignore them. In fact, we develop a plan of action to reverse and sometimes stop the progression of the disease. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness? B4Stage4 encourages people with mental health issues to get informed, get screened, and get help, before Stage 4.

In 2016, MHA is building off of the B4Stage4 message and encouraging individuals to give voice to what it really means to live at stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of mental illness. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it, and is entitled, “Life with a Mental Illness”. “Life with a Mental Illness” is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

“Mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. We need to speak up early—before Stage4—and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone. Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and to showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms,” said Sarah Stroud, Eastpointe CEO.

MHA has also developed a series of fact sheets on realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understanding what mental illness is and isn’t, and how and where to get help when needed. The information is available on its website at (www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may)

Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. Speaking out about what mental illness feels like can encourage others to recognize symptoms early on in the disease process, and empower individuals to be agents in their own recovery.

“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work. Telling people how life with a mental illness feels helps build support from friends and family, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery,” concluded Stroud.

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may. Eastpointe would also like to remind citizens that help for mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance abuse issues are available in our area. Citizens can find additional information and resources to and events in our local area, by visiting the Eastpointe website www.eastpointe.net.

Anyone who is concerned that they may need services to address mental illness is encouraged to contact the Eastpointe Call Center. The call is toll free — no cost to the caller. Eastpointe Call Center staff will help to connect citizens with appropriate services. The Eastpointe Call Center can be contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. The Eastpointe Call Center provides language interpretation for callers who do not speak English. The Call Center number is 800-913-6109. Citizens with hearing impairments may contact the Call Center by dialing TTY at 888-819-5112.

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