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2 May, 2024.

The Family Counseling Center Recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month

The Family Counseling Center of Fulton County is joining organizations, schools, and individuals around the country as they recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Founded in 1949 by Mental Health America, Mental Health Awareness Month helps to promote awareness, share vital resources, and advocate for the mental health and well-being of everyone.

The Family Counseling Center is a behavioral health care facility working primarily in Fulton and Montgomery counties, providing services to clients in rural and urban settings. Its Fort Plain office serves clients in western Montgomery, eastern Herkimer, Schoharie and Otsego counties. The agency works with children as young as 5 years old and provides services including individual therapy, school-based counseling, Family Peer Advocates, crisis care, and a Drop-In Center. In 2023, The Family Counseling Center worked with roughly 5,500 clients.

“We work to raise awareness and highlight the importance of mental health resources every day,” said Michael L. Countryman, Executive Director of The Family Counseling Center. “Our clients and their loved ones are seeking a safe space to learn, grow, and build healthy lives. The Family Counseling Center has been such a place for over 45 years. Each year we expand our services in order to meet the needs of our community, but there is a lot of work that can still be done.”

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 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.

The stigma of living with a mental health condition can have a serious impact in an individual’s ability to seek help and a negative view of their personal worth in the community. The after-effects of the Pandemic have begun to breakdown many of the stigmas associated with mental illness, but there is a long way to go.

“May 5 – 11, 2024 is Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week,” added Countryman. “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.” Child-focused care includes the agency’s School-Based Intervention Counselors, Mobile Crisis Unit, and Family Peer Advocate.


The Family Counseling Center 

Mental Health America

National Federation of Families