It seems those ribbons come in every color. Pink for breast cancer, red for HIV/AIDS, and more. You see one and you know it’s for something, but maybe you’re not sure what.
It’s great to see campaigns that raise awareness of and support for the issues that affect us. There’s one cause that still carries quite a bit of stigma so it’s important to talk about it. By bringing the issue out to the light of day, we chip away at the stigma. We make hope available for people who are suffering and educate those who are unaware of the issue and its impact.
The issue is mental health, in particular people who live with mental illness. The ribbon color is green, although that’s connected to other causes as well.
May as mental health awareness month is a topic near and dear to many at Unity House due to programs and services that are geared toward helping people recover from or live with mental illness. We offer programs such as PROS, which stands for Personalized Recovery Oriented Systems. It’s the Unity House program where adults with a mental health diagnosis can work with a team to chart their own path to wellness. The premise behind this new program is that it’s person-centered, holistic and recovery-oriented.
Unity House also offers myriad services around living with mental illness, recognizing that some undiagnosed mental illness is often dealt with through self-medication, complicating ones health and ability to access available resources. Programs where case management services are available are key for this reason. Housing, for example, often needs to be tailored to a specific needs such as living with persistent mental illness or having a MICA classification. Being Mentally Ill, Chemically Addicted requires care that treats both mental and physical health needs. The Housing First doctrine of treating the issue of homelessness has never been more clear than in helping homeless adults who are mentally ill.
Even if you have not experience mental illness yourself, chances are you know someone who has at some point in their lives. Not all wounds are so obvious. Whether a person suffers from trauma induced by war, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder or even a struggle as yet unnamed, it’s important to talk about these issues. People need to know these issues exist and that resources are available to help.
For the month of May, Unity House will be sharing information about mental health and the issues faced by those living with mental illness and their families. Whatever the state of the mental health of you and your loved ones, let’s make an effort to be kinder than necessary, a little more helpful that we might be otherwise. And if you see a green ribbon, ask what that’s about. You might learn something and you might chip away at a stigma that’s been around for far too long.