Kathy Rohr, Director of Adult Programs, Wisconsin

During the month of May, people and organizations across the country are bringing awareness to mental health. As one of the primary providers of mental health services in our area, Family & Children’s Center wants to recognize this month and share some thoughts on how we can all work together to improve the lives of people who are affected by mental health conditions.

First, we know that mental health conditions are common.  1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime and virtually every American is impacted through their friends and family and can do something to help others.

What can you do?  The best thing we all can do is to start a conversation about mental health with others. People who experience depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia should not feel the need to hide their experience. These conditions are common and treatable just like any other health condition. If we can start the conversation and destigmatize mental health conditions, more people will seek treatment and get better. This might mean sharing your experience with a mental health condition or it might mean being open and inquisitive to supporting someone else in sharing their story.

What else can you do?  Seek resources that can help you or someone you care about:

  1. If you are involved with an organization or class that would like to hear the recovery story of someone who experiences a mental health condition, there is a signature program by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) called In Our Own Voice. This is a free program available in our area.
  2. If you know someone who could use support related to a family member with a mental health condition, refer them to a free local support group NAMI.
  3. If you know someone who would like to learn more about mental health, refer them to the La Crosse NAMI General Meeting, which features guest speakers with expertise in mental health.
  4. Family & Children’s Center is a private, nonprofit serves people of all ages with an array of mental health services including Outpatient Counseling and the Community Support Program. Call 785-0001 for more information.

green_ribbonMental health is an important part of a person’s overall well-being. It is important to recognize this all year around, but it is particularly important to take the time you can in May to have a conversation about mental health with the people you care about.