Confronting Mental Health
In America today, approximately 45-47 million, or 1 out of five Americans, is suffering with a mental health issue; and approximately one in 25 adults is currently experiencing a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Sadly, the rate of suicide is at a 30-year high.
While more individuals are accessing care, an astounding 9 million are struggling with unmet needs.These are our friends, colleagues, neighbors and perhaps our own family members. As CEO of the Arbour Hospital, my staff and I have the privilege of serving many members of our community who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives – mental illnesses that are often invisible to the casual observer in ways that physical illnesses are not.
May is Mental Health Awareness month, providing an important opportunity for reflection and col-lective action to address barriers, including the ongoing stigma and stereotypes preventing many individuals from getting the care they need.
A recent poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Research Now provides some noteworthy insights regarding perception and barriers. High percentages of respondents view mental health as equal in importance to physical health with illnesses like depression and anxiety cited among the top concerns, along with cancer and heart disease. The same poll identified barriers to care and different perspectives regarding value for physical and mental health where historically the latter wasn’t taken as seriously.
The good news is that there is much hope – and today, positive outcomes are not only possible, they are experienced every day. Like chronic physical illness, mental illness can be diagnosed and effectively managed. Individuals who were once in despair can regain their mental health and go on to live their best lives. This is highly rewarding and one reason I chose to work in this field.
What can we do within our communities to recognize the signs of mental health issues and assist those in need of care and treatment?
• Listen and show understanding: If you suspect a loved one is struggling, offer to listen and encourage them to seek professional help.
• Share the Lifeline number (800-273-TALK) – a 24/7, free and confidential support line. Mili-tary veterans may press ‘1’ for dedicated support. Suicide affects all demographics: different ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation and occupations.
• In case of acute emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Suicide is often preventable when people at risk receive the support that they need.
• Our schools should encourage students to pursue careers in mental health fields, whether through nursing, medical or vocational programs. This is a growing field; we need the next generation of talented professionals. Arbour educational partners include Northeastern University, Roxbury Community College and Tufts School of medicine.
• Each of us can play a positive role to improve the lives of the millions of Americans suffering from mental health challenges, not just during this month, but every month in every com-munity across the country.
Eric Kennedy, CEO
A Great Day at Races
Revere’s Great Day at the Races was a day to remember. The Topsider Lounge at Suffolk Downs was filled with folks having fun. Everyone had a terrific time socializing, eating, drink-ing, placing bets, winning, losing and just experiencing the thrill of the track. And the sun was out!
The Beachmont Improvement Committee (BIC) wants to thank everyone who participated in making this event a success: everyone who bought a ticket, donated a raffle item, bought a raffle, at-tended the event, arranged flowers, purchased props, made phone calls, ran all over town for stuff, and most importantly showed up.
We were fortunate to have the support of sponsors, big and small: Suffolk Downs, HYM, RedGate, XSS Hotels, EZ Disposal and Recycling, Global, Mayor Arrigo, Madison Print, Revere TV, our elected officials, and our local businesses.
The BIC is a strong advocate for making the City a better place to live, work, and play. When we see a need, we roll up our sleeves and figure a way to get it done, or at the least offer a solu-tion to help get it done.
The public stairways throughout the city need fixing. It’s an extremely expensive project, and the City is working on it. However, it’s through the volunteer efforts of the BIC committee and many city employees, and with money from grants, that we repaired our first set of steps from Webster to Pearl Avenue. We plan to further beautify the area with landscaping, lighting, and a little library. The money raised from the Day at the Races will be donated toward the repair of the five worst sets of stairs. If you’re interested, the BIC meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday evening each month at the Revere Police Station. All are welcome.