Mental Health Month 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 
Contact: Traci Patterson
Director of Communications
713-520-3476 or tpatterson@mhahouston.org

 

May is Mental Health Month
Create a Culture of Awareness and Hope

Houston, TX (May 5, 2016) — May is Mental Health Month and Mental Health America of Greater Houston continues its mission to increase mental health awareness, and eliminate the culture of shame and silence surrounding mental illness.
 
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Month, Life with Mental Illness, calls on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting stories with the hashtag is a way for individuals to speak up, to share their point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through, and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.
 
“There is real power in sharing your story. Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma associated with mental illnesses and showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms,” said Susan Fordice, president and CEO of MHA of Greater Houston. “We need to speak up early and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone.”
 
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 1 in 5 Americans—roughly 43 million individuals—experience a diagnosable mental disorder each year; and anxiety, bipolar disorder, dementia, depression and schizophrenia are among the most common.
 
Among those Americans with mental health concerns, are mothers who experience postpartum depression. New legislation, House Bill 2079 (H.B. 2079) deems May, Texas Postpartum Depression Awareness Month. To bring greater attention to this serious mental health concern, the Yates Children Memorial Fund Advisory Committee at MHA of Greater Houston is bringing mothers and the medical community together for, “Dark Side of the Full Moon,” a film screening, expert panel discussion and light dinner on May 11 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Midtown Arts & Theater Center (MATCH) Houston, 3400 Main Street.
 
In addition to mothers, May is also a time to focus on children’s mental health.  NIMH reports that the onset of half of all mental illnesses occur by the time a child is about 14 years old, and 75% of these illnesses begin by age 24.
 
“In Harris County, more than 152,000 children are currently living with mental illnesses. Early identification and treatment in youth mental health is critical, however most children go undiagnosed until a crisis occurs, which can severely compromise their long-term ability to achieve a healthy and successful life,” said Fordice.
 
Now in its second year, the #HTxMentalHealth Children's Art Contest, is a children's mental health awareness project established by MHA of Greater Houston and Nick Finnegan Counseling Center. The contest is open to all children between the ages 5-14 and gives them an opportunity to express their understanding of mental health. Young artists and winners of the 2016 #HTxMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest will have their art displayed in a mental health exhibit at The Health Museum (1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004) from May 5 through June 30. Their art is also available for viewing on the 2016 Digital Children’s Mental Health Art Gallery at www.htxmentalhealth.weebly.com/ or www.mhahouston.org/photos/set/29/.
 
MHA of Greater Houston offers year-round workshops, trainings and resources, including, “The Guide: A Listing of Low-Cost and/or Affordable Mental Health Resources,” as a community service to the people of Greater Houston. For free copies The Guide or for more information about MHA of Greater Houston, its programs and services, visit www.mhahouston.org.