At our last council meeting on May 8, we proclaimed May to be Mental Health Awareness Month. Bringing awareness to the importance of mental health is critical to the well-being of individuals, families and communities. Unfortunately, the stigma that has traditionally surrounded the issue of mental illness has been a significant barrier in its prevention, identification or treatment. With the emergence of the opioid crisis and rising statistics in suicide and depression, the need for addressing mental illness and cultivating good mental health has never been more important.
In the event that you were unable to attend or watch the council meeting, I thought you would find some of the points outlined in the proclamation to be of interest. They are as follows:
• Good mental health helps to sustain an individual’s thought processes, relationships, productivity and ability to adapt to change or face adversity.
• Mental illness adversely affects those abilities and often is life-threatening in nature.
• One in five adults experiences mental health problems in any given year and such problems can contribute to the onset of mental illness.
• Depression is the health condition most impacting millennials, and its incidence among millennials increased more than 30 percent between 2014 and 2017.
• One in five youth, aged 13-18, experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during adolescence, yet only about half receive treatment.
• Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youths aged 15 to 24, with New Hampshire having the second highest rate in New England and the 19th highest rate in the nation.
• Early identification and treatment can make a profound difference in successful management of mental illness and recovery.
• It is important to maintain mental health and learn the symptoms of mental illness in order to get help when it is needed.
• Every citizen and community can make a difference in helping end the silence and stigma that for too long has surrounded mental illness and discouraged people from getting help.
• Public education and civic activities can encourage mental health and help improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
If we acknowledge that our mental and physical health are interconnected and both are vitally important to our overall well-being, then we will have created an environment in which people are more apt to be proactive in achieving and maintaining good mental health. This will not only positively impact individuals and families, but also the overall health and economy of our
Charlene Lovett is the mayor of Claremont and welcomes your feedback. Please email questions, comments or concerns to her at email@example.com.