Harrison County proclaims May as Mental Health Awareness Month

“Your story matters” is the message Community Healthcore wanted to stress as the Harrison County Commissioners Court proclaimed the month of May Mental Health Awareness Month in the county.

“Every year we pick a theme to really focus on,” Patti Brady with Community Healthcore said. “This year it’s ‘Your Story Matters.’”

“We want more people to talk about mental illness and know that they matter and their story matters; so when they share their journey and experience, more people are going to become more comfortable in sharing their story,” said Brady.

Brady thanked County Judge Chad Sims and county commissioners for proclaiming the month as Mental Health Awareness Month in Harrison County. The agency also thanked Community Healthcore’s board of trustees and board chair Randi Leffall for attending the reading of the proclamation during the court’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Brady noted that as the local authority for mental health in Harrison County, Community Healthcore provided 73,872 hours of direct services to 1,365 Harrison County residents last year.

“We have close to 50 programs within Community Healthcore that provide an array of opportunities and support all the way from the beginning of life to the end of life,” said Brady.

Some of the services provided include mental health counseling services, skills training and substance abuse prevention programs for youth. The agency also offers recovery programs for substance use disorders, which a lot of times coincides with mental illness, Brady explained.

“We provide services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she said. “A lot of children and adults have a dual diagnosis of a mental illness and intellectual disabilities.”

According to the proclamation approved by the court, mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being. The proclamation recognizes that all Americans experience times of difficulties and stress in their lives.

“Mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation,” the proclamation states. “Prevention is an effective way to reduce the burden of mental health conditions.”

The proclamation notes that early and effective treatment to those with mental health conditions can help them recover and lead full productive lives.

“Community Healthcore is the local authority assisting residents in nine East Texas counties, including Harrison County,” the proclamation indicates.

Community Healthcore provides 24 hours, seven days a week crisis hotline outpatient mental health services, skills training and support services for children and adults.

“We encourage the citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools in Harrison County to recommit their community to increase an awareness and understanding of mental health, the steps the citizens can take to protect their mental health, and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental illness,” the proclamation states.

Brady encourages the public to visit Community Healthcore’s website at communityhealthcore.com to increase their awareness about mental health and services that are offered. Community Healthcore is also available for speaking engagements and presentations to help raise awareness, Brady noted.

“I think it’s important to eliminate stigma by talking about awareness of mental illness,” said Brady.

“Mental health is health,” she added. “We really need to remember that and focus on taking care of our mental health just as much as we do our physical health.”

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