Why May Matters: Mental Health Awareness Month

Every May serves as a reminder of the importance of mental well-being in our daily lives. This dedicated month to Mental Health Awareness, encourages us all to have conversations about mental wellness, and break down the societal stigmas that often accompany mental health challenges. It's a time to remember that taking care of our mental health is just as crucial as maintaining our physical health.

Mental Health Month is not just about raising awareness; it's also about education and action. Terra Goldsberry, a Physician Assistant - Certified for Orchard Place, says, “Becoming aware of how it can impact you and your child’s life is key to maintaining good mental health.” Many people face their mental health adversities silently, but we want to change that! Whether it's anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health condition, understanding that these are common experiences can change the perspective of a person battling with their mental health.

“We know that an individual’s mental health can impact all aspects of their life,” explained Goldsberry. The initiative behind Mental Health Awareness Month encourages the importance of being aware of the signs and finding resources. “Symptoms of mental health concerns can range from very mild to significantly impacting the functioning of an individual. It may look like a decrease in enjoyment of hobbies or have major impacts on a person’s overall health and personality,” shared Goldsberry. “As for finding care, with non-emergent symptoms, contacting you or your child’s primary care provider is a great first step to aid in screening for diagnosing, and beginning treatment if necessary.”

Lisa and Brian know all too well why seeking and finding the right mental health care is important. When they were ready to start their family, they welcomed two baby boys through international adoption. Their early years as parents were carefree. Then, both of their sons experienced mental health crises during their teenage years, including substance use and self-harm.

“Our happy family became chaotic,” they stated. “We felt increasingly isolated from friends and our community.” That’s when they found Orchard Place. They describe the services as life changing. Orchard Place staff was able to diagnose and provide the right medication, inform both Lisa and Brian about parenting children with mental health challenges, validation, and other resources. “We are so grateful for the staff who worked with our boys,” said Brian. While Lisa adds, “This is a job that actually makes a difference in people’s lives!”

And remember, mental health is a continuous journey. It's about building resilience, nurturing our emotional well-being, and finding balance in our lives. Activities like mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and journaling are advocated to help individuals develop coping mechanisms that support mental health. Let's use May to commit to our mental health, to learn, to support, and to grow stronger, together.