According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “a mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis. Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process. A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.” (https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers, accessed 5/9/18)
For years mental health issues were shoved into the back room and never dealt with. But today that is changing and at Freshwater we are committed to supporting those who struggle with mental illness.
One of our five year goals is to “Positively impact and assist over 300 people struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges.” Substance abuse and mental health are not the same. This must be made clear but sometimes they do overlap. We are committed to helping those who struggle with either one with love and support.
We do know that mental health issues are on the rise. For example:
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.1
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.
6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
(https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers, accessed 5/9/18)
In the past year Freshwater has started to talk publically about mental health issues. We have sent several staff to NAMI seminars that speak into how to help those who suffer. We have also established a counseling network to provide the best care possible. We also offer peer counseling and mentoring depending on the need.
Since January 2017 we have helped almost 100 people struggling with substance abuse. We have also helped dozens of people who battle mental illness. This problem is not going away and that is why we are committed to helping people for the long haul. We have also been very open discussing mental health issues so that people feel comfortable talking about it and seeking the help they need.
This fall Freshwater is hosting a mental health seminar. This seminar is being put on by a local counseling center and backed by NAMI. If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental health issue, you don’t need to be silent and you are not alone. We are here to help and will do whatever we can to support you on your recovery journey. You matter to God and you matter to us. Together, we can get support and give support for the glory of God. There is hope.