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Mental Health Matters

Robin Weagley, CEO of The Meadows Psychiatric Center

The Meadows Psychiatric Center

Welcome May and the opportunity you bring to community awareness and a call to action on mental health matters through Mental Health Month.

The weight of undiagnosed and untreated mental health conditions has skyrocketed, while exercising social connections and support networks have plummeted. Extremes use to be more of the exception until 2020 and now 2021 have made them more of the rule.

According to the Centers for Disease Control in late June of 2020, the self-reported rates of mental health issues were nearly double the rates reported before the pandemic hit. A staggering 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use in 2020. Overall:

31 percent reported anxiety/depression symptoms

26 percent reported trauma or a stressor-related disorder symptoms

13 percent started or increased substance use

11 percent said they seriously considered suicide

As ever-changing your individual and our collective wellness wealth continues to be, we must and will remain steadfast in providing a fitness focus on you and our community. Your behavioral health is worth the same attention, advocacy and appeal that your financial, physical and nutritional health does. For all of the availability with gym memberships, diet plans, exercise equipment, instructional classes – what if we leveled the platform with widely available options in-person and remotely, with therapies and other treatments provided by skilled professionals and supportive peers, which are equally plentiful, sought and celebrated.

If we could equate a balanced approach to our physical and nutritional health with our mental health, then we would celebrating successful efforts in actively participating in supports, in meeting goals, and sharing our before and after stories along the way. Yet and still, we are surrounded with stigma and judgment which often leads to silos and loneliness, setbacks and unfavorable gains.

Part of the challenge is that our behavioral health is not visible. You can’t size it up like you can someone’s weight; there is nothing similar to material markers associated with fiscal status, i.e. home, food, vehicle, job and other securities/insecurities. Mental health and illness typically sits alone, hidden, regularly untapped and unchecked. What if it we brought it to the light and provided adequate and equal support?

Active participation in establishing, enhancing, maintaining your physical and fiscal wealth is celebrated, while preemptive or reactive focus on your emotional wellness wealth is stigmatized, chastised and marginalized. Yet, people with emotional needs do not live in the margins; they are you and me, loved ones, neighbors, workmates, classmates. All of us.

We must remain vigilant in our care of ourselves (and of others), for it is one life event, one trauma, one medical and emotional condition that disrupts the balance of mental wellness and mental illness. We are that fragile yet so resilient.

We work around the clock to make a difference in people’s lives by providing superior behavioral healthcare services through life-saving, life-changing and life-sustaining care. Instilling hope, finding peace, fostering change, recovering - this is the life training we do together. Get fit, stay well, you are not alone.

Robin Weagley, CEO of The Meadows Psychiatric Center

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