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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month’s theme, “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.

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. This Mental Health Month, consider encouraging people to speak up about how it feels to live with a mental illness. Share with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

According to Mental Health America, research shows that by ignoring symptoms, individuals lose ten years in which intervention could 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.

Mental Health America 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. For more information, visit their website.

Like physical health, mental health needs to be maintained. In our communities, Livingston County Mental Health is available as a resource, with licensed professionals available Monday through Friday. To make an appointment or get more information on available services, call 585-243-7250.