Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone among us who hasn’t experienced a feeling of hopelessness. Being sad is one thing; feeling as if your world is beyond repair is something entirely different.

May is National Mental Health Month. The observance started as Mental Health awareness week in 1949, decades after one man’s struggle with manic depressive illness and the abusive treatment he endured while confined to an institution.

In the early years of the twentieth century, Clifford W. Beers fell into an episode of depression following the death of his brother. Beers – a Yale graduate and young Wall Street financier – attempted to take his life and was institutionalized. According to the Mental Health America website, Beers witnessed and experienced the abuse firsthand, and never forgot it. At one point he was placed in a straitjacket for 21 consecutive nights. After his release, Beers published his autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself. In 1909 Beers helped found the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, which later became known as Mental Health America.

We’ve come a long way since then, and the annual observance that started all those years ago may be partly to thank for the progress. And the progress continues all year long in southwest and central Missouri, with Burrell Behavioral Health.

Burrell is a community mental health center that encompasses far more than one community. It serves more than 40,000 clients across 18 counties. According to its website, about 400 clinicians support clients beginning with an individualized health plan.

The first words on the Burrell website reinforce that you’ve come to a safe place: It’s okay to not feel okay.

Seeking help in a crisis can be terrifying. The thought of navigating an unfamiliar healthcare system can be crippling. Worrying about how to pay for treatment is enough to throw a person into total avoidance, and further into a downward spiral.

Burrell helps navigate the process with the click of a green button marked Get Help.

Visitors choose a nearby location, then begin to narrow down the type of help they’re looking for. Burrell has some facilities and resources available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Some people just need information, while others need immediate help. Burrell offers both. It prides itself on individualized care, and collaborative partnerships with families, schools, and other healthcare facilities to help each client achieve a positive outcome.

Comprehensive services include therapy and counseling, psychiatric services, residential treatment, addiction recovery, crisis intervention, case management, evaluation, and even developmental disability and autism services.

But let’s get back to the business at hand—mental health.

Burrell asks the question, what does “better” look like for you? For some, getting better might mean learning to handle anxiety and panic attacks or strengthening a relationship. For others, better might mean renewed excitement about the future. Emotions and experiences can run the gamut, and no one is immune to the ups and downs of daily life, especially when pressures begin to weigh on us mentally.

If you have questions about your own mental health, or if you have concerns about a child, loved one, or friend, and want to learn about starting services, call 417-761-5000.

If you have an immediate mental health crisis including suicidal ideations, don’t wait. Call the 24/7 crisis line in Southwest Missouri at 1-800-494-7355.

If necessary, walk into Burrell’s 24/7 Behavioral Crisis Center at 800 S. Park Avenue, Springfield MO 65802.

Here are some other resources:

Call 911 or go to an Emergency Room if you are in immediate danger.

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988

National Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, then press 1

National Disaster Distress Helpline, for people experiencing emotional distress related to a natural or human-caused disaster: 1-800-985-5990

Burrell Behavioral Health:

Mental Health America:

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

National Institutes of Mental Health:

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