May is Mental Health Awareness Month


BUCKHANNON – In an effort to bring awareness to mental health awareness, members of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) visited Buckhannon City Hall recently with Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley signing a proclamation noting the City recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month

The DBSA state office is located here in Buckhannon at 61 Marion Street. They offer both peer one-to-one and group meetings. Mental health problems are just like any other health condition and can often be treated with therapy and medication.

In Buckhannon, “Brown Bag by the Bridge” provides daily walk-in time Monday through Friday at the DBSA-WV office, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thompson designed Brown Bag by the Bridge to mirror a coffee shop experience, a place where people affected by mood disorders can talk with their peers in a safe and supportive environment. Individuals are welcome to bring their lunch (in a brown bag) if they wish. Free coffee and bottled water are available.

Buckhannon Peer Support Groups are offered twice a month at the DBSA-WV office, on the second and fourth Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Thompson notes that participants need not worry about stigma when they show up. “It’s a place where people won’t judge you and it is important for people to know that what is said here stays here.”

One DBSA support group participant states “The first place I found shelter from the storm was at my DBSA support group meeting, where I bonded with new, accepting friends and found role models who gave me faith that recovery was possible.” Another says “I think the reason I was depressed for so long was that I felt excluded from everything, even my family.  Finding people who accept you for who you are — I can’t put a price tag on that.”

Additional West Virginia communities hosting DBSA Peer Support Groups include Berkeley Springs, Dunbar, Fairmont, Harpers Ferry, Huntington, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Richwood, Romney and Ronceverte. More support groups are being formed.

In Buckhannon, One-On-One Peer Support is offered at 61 Marion Street. Call 304-609-2662 for more information.

One in five people in America are living with a mental illness and about one fourth of these individuals are living with a serious mental illness. Three million adults are living with a mental illness and a substance use disorder.

During May, national, state and local organizations join forces to raise awareness of mental health facts and stamp out myths, fight stigma and educate the public. These groups also advocate for policies and service-delivery systems that support people living with mental illness and their families.
The proclamation read as follows:

WHEREAS, the mental health of every citizen is essential to the emotional and economic prosperity of our families, communities, and businesses in Buckhannon; and 

WHEREAS, mental health is a key component of every individual’s overall physical health and emotional well-being; and 

WHEREAS, mental illness affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels in Buckhannon; and 

WHEREAS, mental health conditions are not only common, they are treatable, and early and effective intervention can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illness; and 

WHEREAS, feelings of personal shame and fears of social stigma and discrimination prevent individuals living with mental illness from seeking help; and 

WHEREAS, untreated mental illness leads to higher rates of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, school dropouts, substance abuse and suicides; and 

WHEREAS, stigma can be reduced by increasing the awareness of mental illness and available resources for those living with  mental health conditions; and 

WHEREAS, we strive to create a community in Buckhannon that supports mental wellness by educating ourselves and our community about mental wellness and mental illness, and supporting our citizens as they seek to improve their mental health; and 

WHEREAS, greater public awareness about mental wellness can positively transform attitudes about and towards people living with mental illness, making it easier for our citizens to seek help.

WHEREAS, during National Mental Health Awareness Month, we recognize the vital role mental health plays in the well-being of individuals and our City.  We also reaffirm our commitment to dispelling stigma around mental illnesses and reassuring all individuals living with mental illnesses that they are not alone. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, David W.  McCauley, Mayor of the City of Buckhannon, do hereby recognize the month of May, and throughout the year, let us work together to understand the importance of mental health.  Let us recommit to making every effort to provide individuals living with mental illnesses the care they need.  Mental health is not just an individual issue, but a community issue. The mental health of our citizens is critical to our City’s prosperity. Together, by focusing on and understanding these issues, we can reduce the effects of mental illnesses on our communities and enable all residents of Buckhannon to live healthy and productive lives.

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