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Mental Health Month – much progress, but more work needed

May is Mental Health Month, an opportunity to recognize the strides that have been made in promoting understanding, increasing opportunities and improving the lives of people living with mental health and substance use problems. It’s a chance to celebrate how far we’ve come, but it’s also the time to acknowledge how much more work there is to do.

13076885_10156723038095136_6193328041158378285_nIn January, the National Council for Behavioral Health launched the “Be 1 in a Million” campaign—a national effort to train one million people in Mental Health First Aid. Since the launch of the campaign, more than 50,000 new first aiders have been trained.

Monthly, the PAL Coalition, one of the core programs provided by Family & Children’s Place, offers Mental Health First Aid training for adults and for adults working with young people. You can get more information here: http://bit.ly/1pKhjpv.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults – approximately 61.5 million Americans – experience mental illness in a given year. One in 17—or about 13.6 million – live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder. Serious mental illness costs our country $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.

So, this Mental Health Month, we encourage everyone to become part of the Be 1 in a Million movement. Get trained. Spread the word. Offer support to someone in need. Because recognizing how and when to step in and offer help can change, even save a life.

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