County Executive Paul M. Wendel, Jr. will proclaim the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Jamestown Community College (JCC), Jamestown Campus, will host the proclamation this year.
On Wednesday, May 3, 2023, an Out of the Darkness Walk will begin directly after the proclamation at 5:30 pm. JCC is partnering with the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Chautauqua County to offer this opportunity for students to connect, raise awareness on suicide and depression, and create a more mindful mental health culture. The walk and activities, including mental health resource sharing and hot air balloon rides, are reserved for the student body only. You can find this event on the sunyjcc.edu/events page. The proclamation will be available live on the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene’s Facebook page, @mentalhygienechq.
Mental Health Awareness Month’s first observance in the United States was by the National Mental Health Association, now known as Mental Health America (MHA), in 1949. Since then, there has been a continued effort to educate the public about mental health, support those with mental illness and their families, and combat the stigma surrounding mental health. This year, MHA is encouraging everyone to go “Look Around and Look Within” and offers a toolkit on their website, mhanational.org, for anyone interested in spreading awareness about mental health.
This year Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week is May 7- 13, 2023, and the theme is Accept. Advocate. Act. Instituted by the National Federation of Families (NFF,) Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week began 18 years ago. This year will mark the second year with its new name, Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. According to the NFF’s website, ffcmh.org, they want children across the lifespan accepted, which means a systemic change in how children’s mental health is viewed. NFF states, “Acceptance demands we advocate and act to change attitudes, behaviors, and systems. Acceptance is social justice. “
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nami.org/mhstats, some important statistics are listed below.
1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year
1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14
Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene (CCDMH) and its community partners will join a national movement to raise awareness about mental health during these recognized times. Many events are happening this month in Chautauqua County to acknowledge this critical month. You can learn more about them and access information about local supports and other behavioral health resources at chqgov.com/mental-hygiene or search @mentalhygienechq to access our social channels. To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Chautauqua County, visit PreventSucideCHQ.com.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a behavioral health crisis, call the Chautauqua County 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 1-800-720-0461 or the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.