TCFS: It’s Time To Stand Up Against The Stigma of Mental Health
Since 2010, mental disorders have been the most common cause of hospitalizations in Kane County, besides labor and delivery, according to TriCity Family Services.
Think about that statistic for a minute, because it’s one of the most important social issues we’re facing nationally and right here at home.
That’s why TCFS, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and offers counseling and emotional wellness programs for children, teens, families and individuals in Central Kane County, is inviting the community to celebrate Mental Health Month in May.
The hard truth is that mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation. And in fact, many children are living with a family member whose mental illness is not being adequately treated.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults experience mental illness in a given year. Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14. As statistics continue to rise, and more people get diagnosed with mental illness, the emphasis on taking care of the mind is becoming as vital as the emphasis placed on taking care of the body.
With the increased focus on physical well-being in our society, this year’s national mental health awareness theme, Fitness #4Mind4Body, balances mind and body.
According to TriCity Family Services’ Clinical Director Jules O’Neal, the two are more connected than ever, which is why mental health is now thought to be part of the regular routine of wellness, much like exercise, balanced eating and sleep.
“I recently had a teen client who, upon reflecting on her treatment of over a year, wondered why mental health assessments weren’t part of yearly health requirements for school, much like physical and dental exams,” O’Neal said. “As we know, the majority of individuals who seek treatment from a primary care physician are reported as having psychosomatic issues with no underlying physical cause. Stress shows in the body in multiple ways … we should continue to see wellness as holistic and multi-faceted.”
Due to the increased awareness of the importance of physical and mental health, the stigma around mental illness and treatment has begun to slowly decrease.
At TriCity Family Services, clients are talking openly with friends about their treatment, often bringing friends to therapy and having them sit in the waiting room during session.
Even the world of politics, entertainment and sports has become vocal, with everyone from Prince Harry, swimmer Michael Phelps, singer Demi Lovato, and former Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall opening up about personal mental health struggles.
For more than 50 years, TriCity Family Services has become synonymous with mental health advocacy. In 2017 alone, the nonprofit provided 52,465 hours of service to 4,015 clients. The agency specializes in family-centered counseling, including an evidence-based Family-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders program.
During Mental Health Month, TriCity Family Services has a number of initiatives planned to raise awareness. In addition to local government issuing proclamations at City Council meetings, trees in the downtown business districts will be tied with lime green ribbons (the official color designated for mental health), and awareness wristbands will be distributed to clients at TriCity Family Services’ two locations in Geneva and St. Charles.
Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse launched a signature beverage, TriCity’s Kiwi Lavender Lemonade Shake-up, good for the entire month of May, and on Saturday, May 5, weather permitting, will set up a Lemonade Shake-Up Stand on its patio, donating 10 percent of lemonade sales back to TriCity Family Services.
Plus, various other strategies will be implemented by the agency throughout the month using social media, website and media platforms.
To learn more about mental health awareness, TriCity Family Services, or to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one, please visit www.tricityfamilyservices.org or call 630-232-1070.
SOURCE: TCFS news release
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