When mental illnesses or disorders are talked about, the language typically used to describe them tends to be clinical and impersonal. These words, while useful for doctors or clinicians, often don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Life With a Mental Illness—is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.
May is Mental Health Month was started 67 years ago by the national organization, Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. The theme this year is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.
John Bowls, Health Services Manager for Barnabas, shared that “Mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. We need to speak up early—and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone. Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and to showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”
Barnabas, with funding support from the Women’s Giving Alliance and the Florida Blue Foundation, offers services for Nassau County residents with mental health issues. Barnabas has a licensed Mental Health Counselor on-site to provide one-on-one counseling sessions to adults. Additionally, Barnabas’ Women’s Health Initiative in Nassau (WHIN) helps women by offering practical life skills that empower them in making better, healthier choices. The project uses peer support groups and alternative therapies such as journaling, art therapy, guided meditation and physical exercise. Both services are free for adults who qualify. For more information about Barnabas’ mental health services or to request an appointment, please call (904) 261-7000 or e-mail jbowls@BarnabasNassau.org.