Let’s help fight the negative stigma associated with mental health issues | Health

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Together for Mental Health is May’s theme as the Henry County Coordinated School Health Team works with the Henry County Health Department, Henry County Medical Center and the Coalition of Prevention of Henry County to educate our students and community about the importance of our mental health.

Their vision is that of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “where anyone affected by mental illness can get the right support and quality of care to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

As a community, we need to challenge the negative stigma of mental health and instead encourage people to seek treatment. Nearly 450 million people worldwide currently live with mental illness and never seek treatment. Life can be very difficult at times and no one should be ashamed to ask for help. Seeking professional help is far better than drowning the pain out through self-harm or self-medication with alcohol or other drugs.

The Henry County School System and other organizations advocate for mental health by providing resources, such as helpline listings, community resources, suicide prevention information, tips for a healthy mind, positive quotes and stickers, bracelets, pins, pencils, treats. , and a small token like puzzles or activities. The Henry County High School Student Health Board and the Asset Team worked hard to assemble 1,000 bags full of these items. These bags will be distributed to each high school student this Thursday during the main class.

The Student Health Council encourages everyone to wear green on Thursday for Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s another way for our community to advocate for mental health and we hope everyone will join us in wearing green, posting their photos and adding the hashtag, #SilencetheShameTN.

The school system is also working with Carey Counseling Center to offer a Virtual Student Assistance Program for our students. Students are often referred by the school counselor and the student’s family. Another resource available to our students is provided by social skills instructors from the Family Resource Center and the Carey Counseling Center to teach students skills such as positive self-talk, breathing, and healthy ways to deal with stress. These programs are an advantage for students to live a healthy life.

Not only do students need support, but parents may need help with their stressors that could be impacting their mental health. Many employers offer programs through their insurance companies that will provide assistance. One of these programs is called Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Insurance companies realize that stress that is left alone and untreated can lead to physical and mental illness. Many times these programs will help with life stressors such as caring for an aging parent, parenting, finances, marriage issues, loss of a loved one and the list goes on.

These programs are usually free and confidential. Check with your insurance company to see if EAP or a similar program is available to you.

For our students to reach their full academic potential, they must be in good mental and physical health.

The Coordinated School Health model strives to meet the needs of the whole child. If you have any questions about CSH, please don’t hesitate to contact me at winderss@henryk12.net.

Stephanie Winders is the director of the Henry County School System Coordinated School Health Department.

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