May - Mental Health Awareness Month

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This month, we’re focusing our attention on a subject that’s close to our heart at the Village; Mental Health Awareness.  Mental illnesses can affect people of any age, race, religion, or income. It is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, and ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Statistics show that at least 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue in their life.  Because of this, it’s important that we all work together to learn how to recognize a problem, provide support, and fight the stigma that can surround mental health problems. 

When someone you care about is suffering from a mental health disorder, it may or may not be as obvious as it seems.  Some symptoms to watch for could include sadness, sudden change in moods, change in performance at work, change in weight or appearance, changes in sleep patterns, and withdrawal from socializing.  The person suffering from a mental health issue may also have hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, be in denial of very obvious problems, or turn to drugs and/or alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

If any of these symptoms are present, your loved one may need help.  In some cases, just having someone to talk to about what they’re going through is helpful and in some rare cases, can be enough.  Most of the time though, professional treatment needs to be sought.  Many times, a loved one will need to help set up and take them to the first therapy session.  Another important point to remember is that there should be no judgement towards the person seeking treatment. Express your concerns, listen to them genuinely, and encourage them to continue seeking treatment.

Finally, we have to learn how to remove the stigma that comes with mental health disorders.  Many people who live with these conditions end up feeling isolated and ashamed.  We have to realize, just like any other disease, mental health is a real disorder that requires help and there should be no shame in receiving it.  And the more stories that are shared from people suffering from mental illnesses, along with their loved ones, the more we can spread the awareness that it is a real problem and that there is real help available, with no need to feel bad about it.

If you or someone you know needs help, don’t put it off.  Below are some useful links for receiving support and more info on mental health.