March 22nd, 2016

Mental Health Month was started nearly 70 years ago by our local community partner Collier County Mental Health Association’s national organization, Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. This year’s Mental Health Month theme is “Life with a Mental Illness” which is their call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.

David Lawrence Center is participating in this month-long awareness generating event by creating a dialogue for our community, supporters, clients and their family members about mental health and the feelings associated with them from the inside out.

As affectionately and accurately portrayed in Pixar’s hit movie ’Inside Out’, feelings guide our perceptions of the world, our memories of the past and even our moral judgments of right and wrong, typically in ways that enable effective responses to the current situation. Studies find that our identities are defined by specific emotions, which shape how we perceive the world, how we express ourselves and the responses we evoke in others.

Having healthy relationships and getting on a path to good mental health begins with being able to talk about and understand how you are feeling. Our goal for Mental Health Month is for people to:

  • understand how common mental illnesses are and what it is like to live with them
  • fight stigma
  • talk about mental health
  • assess their own mental health through use of screening tools or by seeing a mental health professional
  • share personal experience with mental illness

By encouraging people to talk about what mental illnesses feel like, and then have them act on that information will give more people a voice to feelings, fears, hopes and dreams so they can be empowered to change the trajectory of their own lives for the better and/or help those we love change theirs.

We know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available at David Lawrence Center and throughout our community. We need to speak up early – before a crisis – so that people do not feel isolated and alone. By removing the shame and stigma of speaking out, more people can become comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

So speak up, speak out and join us for our Mental Health Month Fair and Open House on May 20th, 2016 where there will be plenty of opportunities to express yourself and your feelings while celebrating the many ways we can we support our mental health and wellness. For more information click here.

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