Publisher’s Perspective: Mental Health Awareness Month in a pandemic (Opinion)
As the calendar pushes into a new month, so does the awareness focus. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and for the past few years the Tribune has turned our logo green for the entire month to help with this awareness.
However, those previous years were unlike what we are facing this year. Perhaps, one could argue that this year it has never been more important.
Yes, there are some staggering statistics as it relates to mental health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
· People with serious mental illness have an increased risk for chronic disease, like diabetes or cancer.
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· At least 8.4 million Americans provide care to an adult with an emotional or mental illness.
· Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
· 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition.
· 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14. 75% by age 24.
· 90% of people who die by suicide have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.
Given our current state of the world, I would imagine many statistics related to mental health are only going to get worse.
As an example, there was a story from earlier this week about a New York doctor who had treated many coronavirus patients, she died by suicide. She was reported as not having any history of mental illness but it appears what she had gone through on the frontlines had definitely taken a toll on her mentally.
Granted, not everyone going through this crisis is on the frontlines, but everyone also doesn’t have the same make up. What might trigger someone into depression may not be that big of a deal for another. Regardless, what we are all experiencing isn’t rainbows and unicorns and for many, it could really prove as a catalyst.
And not only as a catalyst for those people on the fence, but what about the many that currently suffer from mental health – including our children.
Because of that, it’s important to keep an eye on your loved ones. There are many symptoms to keep an eye on, but getting help to the people that need it most, could prove to be a life saving effort. Especially now, we can all relate to the value of a saved life.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8046.
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