This year mental health awareness has already been boosted by the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting dramatic changes to almost every part of our lives. Media, health care providers, public agencies, non-profits, and celebrities have all been sharing the huge impact of the pandemic on mental health. The use of hotlines, virtual therapy sessions and applications, and other physically distant means of mental health care has expanded and entered public consciousness like never before.
Here at Youth Home we fight for mental health awareness through our programs, outreach and education. We also fight for awareness by battling stigma. Our campaign to #LiveStigmaFree tries to share the real stories of people dealing with mental health. You can also follow #LiveStigmaFree on Facebook.
Children’s Mental Health
Sometimes the first step of treating childrens’ mental health is recognizing the need. In "Why Parents Are Silent About Mental Illness," Lisa Lambert writes about the feelings of fear and anxiety that affect parents of a child with mental health concerns. Lambert argues that finding community with other parents, as well as treatment, is essential:
"We share, we cry, we laugh. We applaud each others’ successes and commiserate over the failures."
At Youth Home, families are an essential part of the treatment process. We cherish the special relationship between parents and children and try to build on that foundation. The struggle of treatment and resilience affects the entire family. The LeMaire family spoke to us in 2017:
Maternal Mental Health
One week of Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to maternal mental health. In recent years there have been several well-known celebrities who have opened up about the mental health struggle they had to overcome, particularly conditions such as post-partum anxiety, post-partum depression, and others. As part of the battle against stigma, many others have spoken about the importance of recognizing symptoms, providing guidance and treatment, and valuing maternal mental health.
A special article from Little Rock Family, “Mom’s Guide to Self-Care”, includes team member Melanie McLeain, LMSW, from our outpatient clinic:
“The most important thing for friends and family to do is to understand that this mom would help herself if she could. No one deliberately chooses to feel anxious or depressed”
The article also includes “A Spotlight on Mom's Wellness” with articles about maternal self-care and personal reflections by Arkansas moms.
The Blue Dot Project, a non-profit dedicated to maternal mental health, was named after a blue dot with a silver lining created to “illustrate hope”. The creator was a mother of three who struggled with post-partum anxiety and wanted to create a symbol that people could use for awareness and solidarity. Visit their website to learn more about their mission and ways to support maternal mental health. Like other mental health issues, the stigma of recognizing a need, seeking help, and accessing treatment affects mothers.