East Texas groups work to spotlight mental health

Published on Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:42 - Written by Coshandra Dillard, cdillard@tylerpaper.com

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when advocates and family members bring awareness and seek resources for families who cope with mental illness daily.

Mental heath is sometimes an afterthought because it’s easier to set aside an issue that isn’t physical. But the fact is that mental illness impacts one-fourth of the American population.

While there are still some challenges, more people are beginning to speak about it.

The Meadows Mental Health Institute—a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization—released a survey last week that measured the awareness and knowledge of mental health among Texans. Findings include:

76 percent of Texans have a friend or family member that have experienced a mental health issue

9 in 10 Texans believe it is harder for people to talk about a mental health condition or situation than a physical health issue

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67 percent of Texans believe that more state and local dollars should be spent addressing mental health

31 percent of Texans would not know where to go if they or a family member needed help with a mental health condition

33 percent of Texans would consider a career as a mental health professional

Locally, there are upcoming opportunities to address concerns about coping with mental illness.

Operation CARE: Mental Health for Military Veterans and Their Families will begin at 7:30 a.m. April 24 at The University of Texas at Tyler’s University Center.

This event aims to create a better understanding for health care workers’ and community members’ needs for military veterans and their families.

Mental health officials will provide evidence-based strategies to improve resources and patient outcomes. For more information about registration, email cmarzilli@uttyler.edu or call 903-566-7033.

Beginning at 9 a.m. May 2, NAMI Tyler will host its Second Annual Mental Health Awareness Day event at Shiloh Road Church of Christ at 1801 Shiloh Road. For more information, contact NAMI at 903-617-7610.