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Celebrating Nurses Week and National Mental Health Month

During the month of May we celebrate both Nurses Week and National Mental Health Month. It is a time of year when beautiful, colorful flowers are brightening the landscape, birds are chirping, graduations and other milestones are being celebrated, and many people are enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. However, for my colleagues and I who practice in the field of mental health, we are mindful of the challenges and stigma that is associated with Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders; and of those who are not experiencing the joys of the season of spring. Far too many individuals who are suffering do not seek mental health treatment for fear of how it may be perceived by others. Families remain silent, communities turn a blind eye, and individuals suffer alone…many because of stigma. We mental health nurses take every opportunity we can to try and reduce this stigma. We present at educational forums ensuring the public has access to accurate information and that those in need can best understand their options and resources. We speak up in casual conversations when stereotypical comments are made about those living with Mental Illness and Substance Use disorders, and we care for those looking to live healthy and meaningful lives day in and day out. I am grateful for everything that many do to help, but also know there is still much to be done. We need to continue to speak up and encourage those in need to seek help so that they are able to live the life we all imagine and dream of—one filled with joy and good health.

To learn more about Nurses Week and Mental Health Month, visit our website or Facebook page.

Written by: Marianne Guerriero, RN, BSN, NE-BC, Ramapo Ridge Nurse Executive, Ramapo Ridge Behavioral Health at Christian Health