The month of May is Mental Health Month across the United States. This month originally started as Mental Health Awareness Week way back in the 1940s, and in the 1960s was upgraded to a monthly designation. Fortunately, public attitudes towards mental illness appear to be changing with a growing recognition of the need for better mental health awareness and mental health services.
During this month, there are numerous activities and events that focus on raising awareness about important mental health issues and needs in our communities. Due to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Connecticut has been in the forefront of focusing on the importance of mental health services for those in need. Our state is undergoing a great deal of reflection about how we identify those in need of help and how to deliver appropriate services. While there is still great debate about the role of guns contributing to violence, there is near unanimous accord that better mental health awareness and service delivery are essential components in the effort to curb violence by unstable, mentally ill individuals.
To that end, the Meriden Community Health Center, Inc. will be hosting the second annual 5- and 10-K Race and Walk for Mental Health Awareness on Saturday, May 3 at Hubbard Park. This community event raises mental health awareness in our community. The race also generates funds for the local United Way to conduct trainings in mental health awareness for businesses and educators to understand the signs of mental illness and how to respond appropriately.
If you would like to participate in this event or make a donation to support these efforts, please go to www.FastTrackTiming.com. Positive and pro-active efforts to promote mental health awareness and the implementation of more robust and responsive mental health services hold the key to preventing the violence caused by those with mental health issues and the aftermath of grief and sorrow left in their wake.
Michael S. Rohde is Director of Community Relations, Community Health Center, Inc.