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Lake County officials put focus on Mental Health Awareness Month

News-Herald - 6/11/2024

May 28—The Lake County commissioners have again unanimously adopted a special resolution proclaiming May "Mental Health Awareness Month," with a heightened and specific focus.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, which began nationally in 1949, Mental Health America works to promote "Look Around, Look Within," an initiative that considers every part of one's environment and its effect on collective mental health and well-being.

Per the community-based nonprofit, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, nearly 1 in 5 — more than 53 million — Americans currently struggle with mental health issues.

Enacting the board's measure, officials with the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board continue raising awareness of the important role mental health and overall well-being plays in daily life.

According to Executive Director Kim Fraser, the ADAMHS Board will focus its efforts on helping members of the public to:

—Learn how modern life affects mental health with new resources to navigate a changing world

—Act by building a coping toolbox to manage stress, difficult emotions and challenging situations

—Advocate to improve mental health for themselves, the ones they love and their community

The ADAMHS Board's Compass Line toolkit is a central, user-friendly entry-point that provides free, practical resources for addressing mental health and/or substance use services, Fraser noted.

"If you have questions about a mental health condition, contact our strong, local system of support, which assists in sorting through feelings and symptoms and exploring options," she said. "It's critical that we continue to shine a light on this topic."

Additionally, the Compass Line has access to information, referrals, and wait times for ADAMHS Board providers and can directly link individuals to services needed.

A behavioral health navigation specialist is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 440-350-2000. For more information, visit HelpThatWorks.us.

"It is important for us to prioritize mental health education and resources for our community," said Commissioner John Plecnik. "Ignoring the symptoms of mental health disorders can cause further problems, and prevention, early identification and intervention are important steps in the process to recovery."

Commissioner John Hamercheck noted it is essential that individuals feel empowered to seek help and support when needed.

"And the Lake County ADAMHS Board's network of nonprofits and services ensure (that) Lake County residents can thrive," he said.

Commissioner Richard Regovich said speaking out about life with mental illness can familiarize others with how to recognize symptoms to enable others to be agents in their recovery.

"By raising awareness of the community services, the ADAMHS Board is playing a vital role in promoting mental wellness in our community, and I encourage individuals to take advantage of the resources available."

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Month, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

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