May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

Norovirus, Recession, Screening

On Wednesday, May 3, 2017 the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Lincoln County. Cheryl Connell, Director of Lincoln County Health & Human Services (LCHHS) said during the Board of Commissioner’s meeting “Each year I take this opportunity to recognize the HHS staff that work within and for our Behavioral Health system of services. It is also important to recognize the essential work of other HHS and county staff in the promotion, prevention, early intervention and treatment. Most of this work centers around prevention of adverse childhood experiences, which are known to increase the risk of the developing mental illness, addictions and other health conditions in adulthood.”

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

LCHHS Behavioral Health Division has many programs available to the community.  Barbara Turrill, Division Director wants the public to know how to access mental health services.  “The first step is to contact the clinic nearest to you by phone.  A screening and an assessment, if appropriate, will be scheduled.  All programs focus on group therapy and psycho-educational services as a first step, with additional services provided based on the therapist’s assessment and treatment planning with the client and/or the client’s caregiver.  Those additional services may include an evaluation by a psychiatric provider, individual therapy, family therapy, case management and/or peer support.  The phone numbers for all 3 clinic locations are:

Finally, if you are interested in learning what you can do when you see someone in a mental health crisis, sign up for one of the upcoming Mental Health First Aid courses in Lincoln County.  To register contact Samaritan Health Services at 541-768-6811 or visit their website at https://www.samhealth.org/mentalhealthfirstaid