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Nov-21-2022 15:37printcomments

How to Bring Mental Health Awareness to Oregon

Oregon citizens need help, but not everyone knows how to elicit change.

mental health signs
Photo courtesy: Dan Meyers

(SALEM, Ore.) - In 2022, Mental Health America ranked Oregon second-to-last in a report highlighting the prevalence of mental illness and access to care. The state has also ranked in the bottom three states for the last nine years.

The report stated that the ranking is based on substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and self-reported rates of mental illness. Approximately 27% of Oregon adults reported a mental illness, which is 6% higher than the national average.

It’s clear to see that Oregon citizens need help, but not everyone knows how to elicit change. We might be able to start by taking the following actions.

Train More Mental Health Counselors

There are many online masters in mental health counseling programs available for Oregon residents, which means there are also many opportunities for people to undertake training to become mental health counselors and help their communities.

When you undertake a mental health counseling program, you can become an independent licensed practitioner, offer people essential coping and functioning skills, and confidently diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders.

There is a growing lack of mental health professionals in the United States, but we have the ability to change that here in Oregon.

Open Up About Your Own Experiences

Many people with mental health illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety suffer in silence. They don’t feel comfortable opening up to the people around them because they fear what other people might think.

By being transparent about your own experiences with your mental health in a public capacity, you might start a movement and help people see that it’s okay not to be okay.

The more open and honest we are about our mental health challenges, the more supported and less alone people might feel on their journey to seeking help.

Use Social Media Platforms

Most towns, cities, and states have social media pages dedicated to informing people of the happenings in their area. People use these groups and pages to report missing pets, post items for sale, publish public notices, and inform people of upcoming events. There’s no reason you can’t use these same platforms to spread the message of mental well-being. Raise public awareness about what mental health is, ask people if they are okay, and encourage them to speak out and ask for help if they’re not. Get people talking, and you might inspire others to be more open and honest about their own struggles.

Help Establish Mental Health Screening

Whether you set it up as an independent event or establish it as part of a larger community health fair, you might make a world of difference with mental health screening. Such events allow people to learn more about their mental health and take action when they know the support services available.

You might also encourage people to take mental health screening tests online through organizations like Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI).

    Bringing awareness of mental health to Oregon can be challenging, especially as many people living with mental illnesses feel isolated, alone, and unable to help themselves. By opening up about your own experiences, looking at counseling programs, and spreading awareness online, you might make more of a difference in your local community than you thought possible.
Source: Special Features Dept.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.