May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:44 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. News Source 8′s Isaac Potter caught up with AMHC on what they are doing to bring awareness to this month and has the story.

More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults or about 57.8 million people, live with a mental illness according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This month is National Mental Health Awareness Month. The month is all about normalizing mental health, reducing the stigma, encouraging people to access services and find ways to take care of themselves, and generally raise awareness.

Michelle Ferris, AMHC Chief Operations Officer, says “We have mostly been focusing on social media campaign. Trying to provide education on ways that people can improve their own mental health and wellness.”

Ferris adds there is a high demand and need for these services in the area.

Michelle Ferris: “We cover Aroostook, Hancock, and Washington counties. In the areas that we serve, it’s estimated there is about 22% of the population who is either dealing with a serious mental illness or some sort of emotional disturbance. And about four percent have co-occurring substance use disorder, and so that makes it even more complicated and a little bit more risk, but we definitely have a need for our area.”

While sometimes it can be hard to admit you need help, Ferris encourages people to not be afraid to reach out if you are struggling.

Michelle Ferris: “Please don’t wait, it’s ok to reach out. I know sometimes people feel ashamed, and there is judgment and all that stigma that goes about why can’t I do this on my own? But it doesn’t mean that you are going to need services forever or long term. We all would rather have people reaching sooner rather than later.”

If you are struggling, you can call the 24/7 AMHC Call Center at 207-762-4851. Ferris says there are trained counselors that will answer the phone and listen, talk through, do some initial assessments of your needs, and get you connected to the right resources. Isaac Potter News Source 8.