May is mental health month



CONTACT: Michael J. Yates PHONE: (865) 719-7221

May is mental health month

Oak Ridge, TN — May brings good news regarding the importance of mental health awareness. This year’s theme, Life with a Mental Illness, is the national awareness campaign promoted through Mental Health America (MHA) and builds off of the B4Stage4 message from 2015 by encouraging individuals to give voice to what it means to live at stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of mental illness.

Mental health awareness month was started 68 years ago by MHA to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. In fiscal year 2015, more than 288,000 Tennesseans, children and adults, received publicly-funded behavioral health services, according to a recent release from Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS).

TDMHSAS also reported that more than 1million Tennesseans over the age of 18 are living with a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder and a quarter of a million are living with a serious mental illness. “As awareness increases, more people are acknowledging the early symptoms of a mental health condition and are seeking help,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner E. Douglas Varney. “A mental health issue, just like a physical ailment won’t go away on its own. There are a variety of remarkable therapies and treatments to get people back on track,” Varney added.

“The good news,” according to Brian Buuck, CEO of Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, “is that our collective efforts to elevate mental health literacy across our communities are making a difference in helping individuals seek help earlier. Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated care work,” said Buuck. “Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses.”

Ridgeview is hosting a public event on May 13th from 11:30 to 2:00, where the community will celebrate the arrival of cyclists participating in the Ride for Hope – a bicycle ride from the Department of Children’s Services Clinton Office to Ridgeview’s Oak Ridge location on 240 W. Tyrone Road. Vendors will be present and lunch will be served while quantities last on Ridgeview’s lawn next to the climbing tower. Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank will issue a proclamation to the cyclists on the steps of the Courthouse around 9:45. Riding a bike is not required to show your support and enjoy the event on May 13th at 11:30!

Indeed, the month of May brings good news of mental health awareness. Consider this month the importance of addressing mental health symptoms before Stage 4. Early screening for all ages is a positive step for the community and leads to improved, healthier, more productive lives.
Michael Yates is Director of Development for Ridgeview
Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.