May is Mental Health Awareness Month
The Family Counseling Center is joining with mental health professionals from across the country to recognize and promote May as Mental Health Awareness month. First observed in 1949, the goal is to raise awareness and educate the public about strategies for attaining mental health and wellness, as well as the realities of living with mental illness.
Mental health refers to our emotional and social well-being and impacts how we think, feel, and behave. Individuals struggling with mental health conditions deal with changes in emotions, thinking, and/or behavior. Across the country, approximately one-fifth of the population deals with mental health issues. Mental health includes social, emotional, and psychological well-being and affects nearly all aspects of daily life including physical health. While statistically the occurrence of mental health illness is consistent regardless of location, the incidents of depression and suicide are twice as high in rural communities as in more urban settings.
Experts have identified three major barriers to mental health care in rural settings: availability, access, and acceptability. Any one issue can greatly impact an individual’s ability to address their mental health – but the combination of these factors can have a significant correlation to overall wellbeing.
During Mental Health Awareness month, Mental Health America and other organizations are encouraging individuals to look around and look within. Many things affect our overall mental health – from our neighborhoods to our genetics – and it is important for everyone to consider how the world around them effects their mental health.
Housing Stability and Home Environment
Having safe, stable, and healthy home conditions set the foundation for achieving and maintaining good mental health.
Did you know that your ZIP code can play a role in how heathy you are? Studies have shown that physical and emotional health conditions can be tracked down to community-wide issues by ZIP code. The healthiest communities have a strong sense of community within neighborhoods because people feel supported.
Spending time in nature is linked to many positive mental health outcomes, including improved focus, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of developing mental health conditions, and a sense of connection to yourself, community, and purpose.
“Mental Health Awareness Month is an important opportunity for everyone to take a moment and reflect on their mental health and wellbeing,” said Michael L. Countryman, Executive Director of The Family Counseling Center. “We also need to address that May 7 – 13, 2023 is Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. 1 in 5 children is suffering some kind of mental health issue including anxiety and depression. The Family Counseling Center has always been focused on the care of children and their families. We are seeing the greatest number of requests for services for children than in our history.”
The Family Counseling Center was founded in 1976 by a group of concerned community leaders in search of a way to bring accessible mental healthcare to community members in Fulton and Montgomery counties. In 2022, the organization worked with nearly 4,500 clients across its Behavioral Health Clinic, Children and Family Support Services, the Domestic Violence Program of Fulton County, and Mobile Crisis Unit. The Center is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health, providing services to children as young as five years old. For more information about the Family Counseling Center or its services, please go to www.thefamilycounselingcenter.org.