May highlights ‘National Mental Health Awareness’

There are 80,000 children who suffer from Mental Health issues in Bexar County and only 20 percent receive treatment, stated CGC’s advocacy campaign “One In Five Minds.” (Photo, One in Five Minds)

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Clarity Child Guidance Center (CGC) is participating in breaking down the stigma that mental health carries in the community.

Michele Brown, director of development at Clarity CGC, expounded that the organization’s mission is to not only raise awareness in May, but to have the opportunity to give information to the community to spread awareness all year round.

“The month of May is really big for us, and we make a push on people becoming aware of it not only this month, but every month,” Brown told La Prensa. “Our goal is to take the next step to use dialog, education then spreading the word about mental health.”

There are 80,000 children who suffer from Mental Health issues in Bexar County and only 20 percent receive treatment, stated CGC’s advocacy campaign “One In Five Minds.” In the United States, 6.9 percent of adults (16 million) had at least one major depressive episode in the last year, while 1.1 percent of adults lived with schizophrenia and 2.6 percent of adults in the lived with bipolar disorder, stated the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

It was also reported that 18.1 percent of adults in the country experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias. In an effort to increase services to those who suffer from mental health, Clarity CGC joined forces with The Ecumenical Center, an independent organization.

Earlier in the spring, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission awarded a $1.6 million state grant to the Ecumenical Center. The grant provides counseling services for active duty military, veterans and their families in San Antonio and Bexar County.

The “One in Five Minds” campaign, sponsored by Clarity CGC, is on a mission to start the conversation about mental illness and make sure that all children in Bexar County who need treatment are able to access it regardless of funds.

“One in Five Minds” strives to educate the community, parents, professionals and leaders about mental illness. Many also have the opportunity to take the pledge online to make a change and share it with your community.

Raising awareness during the month of May is ultimately helpful for one to learn the causes, effects and the next step for treatment. Brown assures that it can happen anyone at anytime and anywhere.

“Mental Illness is not necessarily a reflection of parenting and it can hit anyone, no matter what age, family income, or if they are a good or bad student in school,” continued Brown. “It does not discriminate, so just because your child is doing well in school or has a group of friends, doesn’t mean that they are doing great. It is great to have these conversations with them at an early age for them to be aware of the signs.”

To help kick-off National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the organization partnered with Kendra Scott stores and the local Vogue School of Cosmetology to create the sold-out event, “Maynicures” and support those who suffer from mental illness.

At the “Maynicures” launch party, held on April 30, guests will have the opportunity to choose two paint colors, then on each hand, four nails are painted in one color and one nail in the other to signify the one in five children with mental health illness.

For more information, please visit www.1in5minds.org and www.claritycgc.org.