I am not an expert or practitioner in the Mental Health field. However, I have a very personal interest in raising awareness, providing mental health information, and working toward providing assistance to the patients and families who are trying to deal with mental health conditions. I believe a County Commissioner is in a good position to do that.
Mental health issues can range from mild depression and anxiety to the more severe schizophrenia or bipolar disorders. It can affect how we sleep, eat, socialize, relate to others, relate to ourselves, our school work, and concentration. Homelessness is a byproduct of mental health issues. Domestic violence is a byproduct of mental health issues. Child abuse is a byproduct of mental health issues. Unless treated mental health issues can and will spiral down, and, all too frequently, end in suicide or the death of another.
According to the 2016 National Vital Statistics Reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 43,000 deaths each year are determined to be suicides. This number increased 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, with rates growing in both female and male populations between the ages of ten and seventy-four. Suicide is now among the ten most common causes of death.
I have had personal experiences in my professional career with drugs, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and suicides. I understand firsthand the devastating effects on the family, the school, friends, and community. I also understand how, if left untreated, it only gets worse.
We need to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health issue. Awareness needs to be raised and programs set in place, funded, in order to get a grip on the issues. Mental health is not an easy issue to solve. However, we can’t ignore it by pulling down the shades and pretending it doesn’t exist.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255