Prevention Plus: World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day, which this year will be celebrated on Oct. 10, was established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. In Fairfield County many activities take place during October to raise awareness about mental health issues, educate communities and help eliminate or reduce the stigma associated with mental health. The hope is that as we begin to talk about mental health more openly, those affected as well as family and friends will feel more comfortable to reach out for help.
One in four adults and one in five children experience some kind of mental health issue during their lifetime, ranging from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
There are two regional mental health boards in the area that have websites with valuable resources and information on mental health.
Southwest Regional Mental Health Board at healthymindsct.org has resource guides and a link to its young adult site, Turning Point CT, as well as blogs and articles. There is also an opportunity to take an online screening to assess one’s current mental health, and everyone is encouraged to Get a Check Up From the Neck Up, just as they would get a physical each year.
Northwest Regional Mental Health Board at nwrmhb.org includes Ridgefield in its catchment area and offers resources in the greater Danbury area. If you would like to get involved in the effort to improve mental health services in the area, consider joining the board, as it is looking for representation from Ridgefield.
Another invaluable resource is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The local chapter in Connecticut, namict.org/, offers more than 40 support groups across the state, with one at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield.
Ellen Brezovsky is the director of community relations at Silver Hill Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, offering inpatient, outpatient and residential services as well as hosting support groups for people experiencing both mental health and addiction issues. It also offers continuing education for professionals in the field. Go to silverhillhospital.org for information about all its services.