Education is key to understanding

No one thinks it can happen to “them,” but the reality is, whether it happens to “them” or “us,” we are all directly impacted by the aftermath. I am talking about mental health.

In January, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the most current statistics regarding Americans and Mental Health. In that study, they stated that 1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness.

As a provider in community mental health, a client in recovery, and currently dealing with PTSD — I can speak across the board about how disassociated society is and has been with the very real impact of mental health. Being a client in recovery, I will go on record to say that being identified as a mentally ill individual surpassed any emotional pain I have ever felt in my lifetime — between being ignored, bullied, and even abused as a child; being judged for something I had no choice in was far more devastating. As a college graduate and active professional in the field, I can finally do something about that experience — Change it.

PEER Roots Foundation is here to do just that. Our mission is to educate citizens, community leaders, business owners, and clients alike by discussing the facts about mental illnesses, their symptoms, how they are developed, and what impact the illnesses have on the client as well as their societal counterparts. By educating whole communities and removing the “fear” associated with being diagnosed or even engaging with a “crazy” person, much like the segregation issues of the 20th century, this unjustified judgment can be falsified and removed.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, I challenge you to discuss this within your community, broadcast it, and even associate yourself with us as part of a unified stand against the mental illness stigma and advocate for mental health awareness.

Please feel free to contact us or simply show up to one of our scheduled community gatherings.

Mental health matters and it’s time for a change.

Jenifer L. Galvan

Founder/Executive Director

PEER Roots Foundation

www.peer-roots.org

Everett