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SENIOR SCENE: May is Mental Health Month

OPINION by David Smith - Levi Transitions Counseling Services | May 30, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
David Smith - Submitted photo

May is Mental Health Month. To commemorate this, our psychiatric nurse practitioner, Jane Brown, and I did a video about the kinds of folks who come to us for help. You can find the video at http://www.levihospital.com. Here's a partial text of the video:

People come to us with depression and anxiety disorders, mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, and a broad range of other mental health issues. Our patients have faced significant life challenges -- some have thought about or actually attempted suicide. Some have difficulty finding a way forward after losing a loved one. Others have difficulty with relationships and isolation.

There's a common misconception that people with mental illness look and act a certain way: walking down the sidewalk talking to themselves; angry and alone -- pushing away anyone who wants to help; getting in trouble with the law.

The fact is people with mental illness usually look like everyone else. They may be your friends and neighbors, even family members. They may be people in your civic organization or members of your church or other religious group. The people who come to us for help range from age 18 to people in their 80s and sometimes even older. They come from all walks of life and all income groups.

But our patients have at least two things in common: First, they have courage. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes courage to trust. And it takes courage to change. Second, they have hope. Transitions is all about looking forward with hope -- hope for a more meaningful life, for brighter days, for a better future. Sometimes we have to hold on to that hope for them, but eventually our patients find it for themselves. And that's one reason we love what we do.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that keep you from living a full and meaningful life, give us a call at 622-3580. Perhaps we can help you find a way forward and a reason to hope.

(By the way, this is the first Senior Scene article I did in over a year that is not about the pandemic. That's refreshing!)

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