SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is designed to help stomp out the stigma often associated with mental health issues.
The growing concerns surrounding mental health go far beyond the month of May though. It’s why KCAU 9 is teaming up with Siouxland mental health providers for a year-round series on improving mental well-being.
“We’ve watched depression grow, corresponding with that we’ve also seen suicides grow,” Sioux City’s Boys and Girls Home President and CEO Art Silva said.
In just a little more than a decade, startling statistics show major depression cases increased by more than 50 percent and suicide rates are up 30 percent across the U.S.
“I think there is a prevalence of depression increasing in our children and youth, I think there is also a prevalence of stress that’s impacting families,” Boys and Girls Home
Chief Operating Officer Brenda Geisinger said.
The professionals at Sioux City’s Boys and Girls Home say no one is immune from mental health—it impacts people of all ages, genders, races, religions and economic status. And sometimes everyone needs a little help.
“When you’re in the middle of it, you feel something like an island, like nobody really knows what you’re going through. But the more people are willing to share and open up to one another and realize everyone is going through some kind of crisis and its ok,” Geisinger said.
“It’s very treatable, but we have to get over that stigma, that its ok to go talk to somebody about this,” Silva said.
It’s also important to reach out to those around us and encourage them to also focus on their mental well being.
“When you know something is off with a coworker or a friend or your child…taking that moment to sit next to them and say, is everything ok?” Geisinger said.
And having the courage to ask the same question of yourself.
“I would love it where everyone just went, I need a mental health check,” Geisinger said. “I really see it as mental well being and mental wellness.”
“I call it a check up from the neck up,” Silva said. “This is our computer, you’ve got to do maintenance on your computer. Its ok to get a check up and make sure everything is working ok. If its causing you issues in your relationships, issues in your work, in your family, go and see what it is that can be fixed.”
That’s exactly what KCAU 9 will be diving into every other week on Mental Wellness Wednesday, taking a look at all of the different ways we can improve our own mental well being and also help assess the mental wellness of those around us and find ways to reach out. Important skills that could help save a life.