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Letter To The Editor: May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

Yorktown's Catherine Giblin is asking residents to support the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016.
Yorktown's Catherine Giblin is asking residents to support the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016. Photo Credit: File

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email yorktown@dailyvoice.com.

To all communities, The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and now is the time to help ensure people and families in Yorktown and across the country get the critical help they need.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in America experience a mental illness – but more than half didn’t receive mental health services in the last year.

The statistics for children are very similar. We know our nation’s mental health system is broken. Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year. While this is a huge financial value, we must not forget the impact on people.

The consequences of unidentified and untreated mental health issues can cause great harm, including dropping out of school, increased risk of chronic medical conditions, increased risk of substance abuse and increased risk of self-­harm and suicide.

An extremely small percentage may even go on to harm someone else, even though the mentally ill are much more likely to be victims of violence rather than the perpetrators.

Through education and awareness, we will be able to reduce stigma around mental health issues, ensuring people are not afraid to seek help. Through dedicated advocacy, we can make sure services are available. I am a proud supporter of Sandy Hook Promise, a violence­ prevention group that teaches educators, community leaders and students how to know the signs of at­-risk behaviors and intervene to help.

In addition to providing these programs at no cost to schools and youth organizations everywhere, SHP is also leading a coalition in Congress to help pass S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016.

The benefits of this bill are significant. I am asking everyone to call on our state’s congressional leaders to pass the Mental Health Reform Act into law. Then, make the Promise at www.sandyhookpromise.org to help bring Sandy Hook Promise’s free violence-­prevention programs to our schools and community.

Catherine Giblin

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