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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in May each year, was started in 1949 by Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit organization promoting mental health care for all. The observance of Mental Health Awareness Month was created to raise awareness, educate, provide support, and advocate for policies and programs the promote mental well-being. Over the years, this has gone global with communities around the world participating in initiatives to promote mental health awareness and support.

Mental Health Awareness Month

In Scioto County, our community faces a great many mental health challenges—economic struggles, lack of access to healthcare, substance use disorder, and the stigma that surrounds mental health are just a few. According to the 2022 County Health Rankings, Scioto County ranked 88th out of 88 counties in Ohio for overall health outcomes, with mental health being a significant contributing factor.

One of the most crucial parts of Mental Health month is ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues by breaking the silence and amplifying the voices of community members who may be struggling. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit that they have faced these issues, often fearing judgement from others. As a result, they may isolate themselves or suffer in silence, unable to reach out to access the support and resources they need.

Mental Health Awareness month is an excellent time to raise awareness about mental health issues and to showcasing the resources available to those who may need them. This Saturday, May 4th, the Shawnee Family Health Center will host a free event at Tracy Park in Portsmouth called "Peace in the Park" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature vendors, activities, and information highlighting mental health resources in our area and educating residents about the importance of mental health.

In Scioto County, Ohio, there are several mental health resources available to support community members. Concerning anxiety, depression, or any other mental health struggle, you're not alone. The Shawnee Family Health Center offers counseling and therapy for individuals and families, while the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) provides psychiatric care and counseling. HopeSource is another great resource, providing mental health and substance use treatment services, including counseling and support groups. Scioto County Health Department offers mental health services and referrals to community resources. If you're in crisis, the Scioto County Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 to help, call or text 988.

One of the most significant barriers to mental health care in Scioto County, as well as across the country, is access. Community members may struggle to find affordable, quality mental health services close to home. During Mental Health Month, it is essential to advocate for increased access to care and support services in underserved areas. This can include expanding telehealth options and increasing funding for mental health programs.

Mental Health Month is so important for our community here in Scioto County, Ohio. It's all about raising awareness, speaking up, and supporting each other. By tackling the struggles we face and pushing for better access to care, we're taking big steps toward a healthier, more supportive community for everyone.

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