I hope this Superintendent Update for the first week of May finds you and yours well. With mental health entering more and more of our daily conversations, it’s critical that everyone has a solid foundation of knowledge about mental health. That’s why for Mental Health Month this year, Mental Health America is getting back to basics.
• Mental Health America’s 2022 Mental Health Month provides free, practical resources to introduce mental health topics like recognizing warning signs, knowing the factors that can lead to mental health conditions, maintaining mental wellness, seeking help for mental health.
• Addressing mental health symptoms early is critically important for overall health.
• From social determinants of health to genetics, many factors are in play when it comes to mental health conditions, but there are protective measures that can prevent mental health conditions from developing or keep symptoms from becoming severe.
• While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
• About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for the majority of people.
• The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis. It is never too early to seek treatment for your mental health. Intervening effectively during early stages can save lives and is critically important for people living with mental health conditions.
• Social, cultural, and historical factors often impact the mental health of communities that have traditionally been marginalized. These communities experience overt racism and bigotry far too often, which leads to a mental health burden that is deeper than what others may face.
• Life can be challenging, but every day shouldn’t feel hard or out of your control. If it does, one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a mental health screening at mhascreening.org.
• The delays in treatment for mental health conditions are longer than for many other health conditions. Getting screened increases the chances of getting treatment. Mental Health America has free, anonymous, and scientifically validated mental health screens at mhascreening.org.
• Your screening results can be used to start a conversation with your primary care provider or a trusted friend or family member, and you can begin to plan a course of action for addressing your mental health.
• When facing a mental health concern or living with a mental health condition, it’s common to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. You aren’t alone – help is available, and recovery is possible.
• Starting July 16, 2022, call 988 for matters of mental health crisis. Calling 988 will connect you directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is staffed by trained crisis counselors 24/7, 365 days a year.
And finally, I plan to provide another brief update next week. And with that said, let's work together to finish the school year strong by putting our best selves forward in support of our staff, students and one another! As always, thank you for your continued partnership and support of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District. #Innovate #Inspire #Achieve
Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District