May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is getting in on the action. In a recent statement, he proclaimed that Mental Health Awareness Month is being recognized and celebrated in Dutchess County.

Mental Health Awareness Month in Dutchess County

According to Mental Health America (MHA), Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949. Molinaro is calling for an increase in awareness and understanding of mental illness, part of the County's continuing efforts at #BreakingThrough the stigma associated around mental illness. Society may have progressed so much in recent decades in our knowledge and care for the subject, but there is still so much that can be done to better improve the lives of those afflicted and those around them.

Breaking Through is a movement "combatting the opioid crisis: stomping out stigma & giving hope." One can learn more about the County's approach to combatting the issue, and connect with resources they offer by calling or texting their helpline 24/7 at 845-485-9700.

"We must break through the stigma and talk openly about the realities of the opioid epidemic, so no one ever feels ashamed or afraid to admit they, or someone they love, is suffering or in need of help. I encourage you to help someone you know find treatment, reach out to a family who lost a loved one to provide support, get trained on how to use Narcan, or share your story of recovery to inspire others."

- Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro

To help spread the word, NAMI Mid-Hudson has tied white NAMI ribbons on trees, flagpoles, and in areas of high visibility to boost their anti-stigma awareness campaign.

National Prevention Week

In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, this week from May 8th to May 14th is National Prevention Week. The Dutchess County Council on Addiction Prevention and Education (CAPE) put out a post recently in support of the movement.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides connection to free, confidential support. There is HOPE. The Lifeline WORKS. For 24/7 confidential support, just call, text, or chat 988.

CAPE has been serving the Dutchess community since 1987, and provides prevention programming, education, and recovery services to individuals and families in the community.

Mental Health Epidemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) put out a report on March 2nd stating that the pandemic saw a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide, and summarizing the effect of the pandemic on the availability of mental health services. The unprecedented stress caused by social isolation, along with uncertainty surrounding jobs, healthcare, and death has been detrimental to the health millions.

"Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have also been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression. Among health workers, exhaustion has been a major trigger for suicidal thinking," WHO

The brief issued by WHO stated that the pandemic affected the mental health of young people, and that they are disproportionally at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors. It also indicated women have been more severely impacted than men. People with preexisting health conditions such as asthma, cancer, and heart disease were more likely to develop systems of mental disorders.

Local Resources to Support Your Mental Health

I thought it would be wise to have a collection of information and resources to offer for mental health services and awareness. This is not one our typical galleries. This is not a "Best of" or "Top Ranking" kind of thing. This isn't like ranking a McDonald's restaurant. Different practices offer different services and approaches, and to try to quantify this would be disregarding the individual approaches and benefits offered. This is simply a list of resources to help anyone who may be struggling. Perhaps this may make someone's journey a little easier, and potentially help someone's life.

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