Letter: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Dear editor,

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month and considering all the violent events of last year and so on, CONTACT wanted to reach out to let everyone know there are resources and help available; we are just a phone call away. If you believe or even think you or someone you know is going through a crisis and need a listing ear, please call the CONTACT 24-hour helpline, where we are ready to listen and offer any resources we can.

There are about 40 million Americans, who are affected by anxiety disorders, 18 percent of Americans are experiencing a mental health disorder, equivalent to over 45 million Americans (Mental Health America, 2021). Illinois ranks: number eight for mental health disabilities, number 31 for substance abuse, number five for thoughts of suicide (which has increased to over 450,000 since 2019), number 37 at 10 percent for teens with severe depression episodes (that are reported) and number 37 for substance abuse among teens (Mental Health America, 2021). We all know these numbers are dangerously under reported, as mental health is still considered taboo to speak about. Did you know that just in Stephenson County members of the Medicare population are 25 percent, while Illinois is 17 percent for depression (FHN's Community Health Assessment, 2019)? This is not surprising, but more needs to be done.

CONTACT would like to be a guide and a resource for those in need. We are here to serve you! You do not have to suffer alone; you can have your loved ones stay in their homes without worrying about them through our Reassurance Program. Remember help is just a phone call away; please call 815-233-4357 (HELP). We are waiting to listen and help. Thank you.

Amber Macklin, CONTACT of Northern Illinois executive director


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