Hopewell Health centers has partnered with Athens Photographic Project and local community members to increase visibility of, and normalize the conversation around mental health.
According to a news release from Hopwell, with funding from Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, this initiative focuses on a message of hope brought to life through the work of local artists who have their own lived experience with mental illness and/or addiction.
“The true life test is meeting and receiving each other as equal,” explains Robert Lockheed, peer support specialist. “As human beings our disabilities, shortcomings, or learning edges do not define us…our strengths, contributions to family and the community at large is the truer picture of who we are as individuals.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “about half of all adults in the US will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only exacerbated existing mental health conditions for many, it has also shed light on existing barriers to treatment for those in our community. Among these barriers are lack of information on how to access treatment and the perception of being ‘alone’ in experiencing mental health symptoms. Community members are encouraged to face these challenges head on by simply discussing mental health with their friends, family, neighbors and others.
“We can talk about mental health without even saying the words ‘mental health,’” Jamie Straight, CDCA, QMHS, said. “We can share hobbies and ways we relax with others, actively listen without judgement when someone expresses their feelings, and letting our loved ones know they are not alone, whatever they may be facing.”
“When people feel comfortable discussing mental health, they are more likely to proactively seek treatment if needed,” explained Tammy Stage, Hopewell Health Centers Athens Clinic director. “Early detection and treatment has been shown to reduce the lifelong impact of mental health.”
Posters, banners, and yard signs, featuring the work of local photographers, will be visible throughout the nine Southeast Ohio counties served by Hopewell Health Centers. These materials will serve as a reminder to check in with ourselves and our neighbors, as well as, direct viewers to a newly created web page, www/hopewellhealth.org/stigmareduction that can help individuals assess their own symptoms, and link them with local, state and/or national mental health resources.
Hopewell Health Centers, Inc. serves nine counties throughout Southeast Ohio including: Athens, Vinton, Hocking, Ross, Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, Washington and Perry counties. Patients can receive coordinated specialty care from counselors, psychiatrists, primary care physicians, and other services including supported education and employment, dentistry, case management, peer support and family education, in one facility.
If you or someone you know may benefit from any of the above services, please contact your local Hopewell Health Centers office or visit www.hopewellhealth.org/locations for more information.
Information submitted by Hopewell Health Centers.