Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings. Lakes Region Mental Health Center (LRMHC) is joining communities around the country raising awareness of the mental health needs of the one in 5 Americans that will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime.
The statistics are alarming: More than 43 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. Nearly 1 in 25 adults (10 million) in America live with a serious mental illness. 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition—half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. Each year more than 34,000 individuals take their own life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents.
“It is our hope that we will inspire others to raise awareness and take part in sharing information, resources and support for mental health conditions.” said Maggie Pritchard, CEO at LRMHC.
Lakes Region Mental Health Center has a number of educational and awareness events throughout the month of May in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.
May began with a kickoff event on May 1st at the NH Statehouse with remarks from Chief Justice John Broderick, Jr. co-Chair Change Direction NH followed by a proclamation from the Office of the Governor recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month in NH.
LRMHC Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Pritchard will be featured throughout the month of May on radio broadcasts on WEMJ and WEEI talking about workforce challenges and providing insight into the rewards of entering the mental health profession.
Also running the month of May on Lakes Region Public Access TV will be a panel discussion on the topic of trauma in children and adults and the impact trauma has on the family unit. Featured panelists include Ryan Aquilina, MS, LCMHC, Clinical Coordinator and MATCH Supervisor for LRMHC Child and Family Services; Chris Burns, APRN, Prescriber, Clinical Team and DBT Team member; Jen Schmidt, LCMHC, Clinical Coordinator for LRMHC Child and Family Services and DBRT member; and Jayme Sullivan, MSW, CSP Therapist, Clinical Team and DBT Team member. Erica Ungarelli, Director of the Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health, Department of Health and Human Services will serve as moderator. LRPA is aired on Atlantic Broadband on channels 24, 25 and 26 in Belmont, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith and Northwood, NH. All other viewers who do not subscribe to Atlantic Broadband may view the Channel 25 simulcasts over the internet at https://livestream.com/lrpatv/channel25.
On May 9th, LRMHC will have a vendor booth at Plymouth Regional High School’s Convergence event; a silent auction to raise awareness for mental health and substance misuse. Clinicians from LRMHC Child and Family Services will be on hand to answer questions. Also, on Sunday, May 19th, staff will be participating at the upcoming Health Expo which will be held at the Gilford Community Church beginning at 11am.
On May 22nd, Granite State News Collaborative will host a community behavioral health conversation which will include staff from LRMHC, journalists, policymakers and other mental health, substance use recovery and treatment leaders from around the state to hear first-hand accounts of what it’s like to navigate New Hampshire’s behavioral health system, and to engage in a conversation about fixes to the challenges in that system. The goal of this event is to elevate the voices of people with first-hand experience in the discussion about solutions to these issues.
On May 23rd, look for LRMHC’s annual May Insert “Rooted in the Community” in the Salmon Press newspapers; a publication that is devoted to raising awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues that many people face in their lives. This year’s edition will also focus on the collaboration LRMHC has with other local organizations in order to increase access to care, expand services and improve patient outcomes.
On May 24th, The American Red Cross and the Lakes Region Mental Health Center are partnering to bring Red Cross Resiliency Programs to Veterans, Service members, and Military Families. The first session, “Introduction to Mind and Body Skills” will be held at the LRMHC Conference Center from 5:30pm – 7:00pm on May 24th. The workshop series continues on June 14th and on the second Friday of every month thereafter (June – December). Participants may attend one, some or all the sessions and there is no charge. The Resiliency Workshops aim to help improve coping abilities, communication skills and personal wellness strategies. Sign up for May’s workshop at https://lrmhcmindbodymay.eventbrite.com.