Mental Health Addressed at Special Event

From left are Kathy Martin of Healthy Communities, Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets, Brandi Christiansen of Mental Health America, Frankfort Police Chief Scott Shoemaker and Lorra Archibald of Healthy Communities.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Healthy Communities of Clinton C9unty Coalition celebrated with holding a community partner reception to kick off the month.

“It (the event) shows that we have really made mental health a priority in our community,” said Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition Executive Director Lorra Archibald.

This event brought together several key figures who are heavily involved in the fight against mental health, including Mental Health America President and Chief Executive Officer Brandi Christiansen.

“Mental health itself is not getting better,” said Christiansen. “Our approach to it and our ideas about it and the way we view it as a society is getting better. I think they’re probably correlated. I think it’s more normalized because more people are experiencing it and they’re talking about it. That’s what it takes.”

Also on hand was Frankfort Mayor Judy Sheets, who read a mayoral proclamation.

“This is something that hasn’t always been looked upon as well as it is today,” said Sheets. “We’ve come a long ways and I just challenge our schools, our citizens and our elected officials to reach out to these people and educate yourself to understand what’s really going on with them.”

Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans’ lives, and to celebrate recovery from mental illness. Mental health is essential for a person’s overall health.

Also, while the future of the pandemic is uncertain, its impacts on mental health are long-lasting. Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.

Even though COVID has subsided, it’s still a major factor.

“COVID  has made all of these things worse for us,” said Archibald. “A lot of our substance use is related to mental health. Our suicide rates are alarming, especially with teens. These are things that we have to keep addressing and we have to keep working on these things every single day.”