The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The occasion was not only coined to spread awareness about mental illnesses, but it is also meant to encourage people to learn more about the topic and to seek help, if necessary.
Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in U.S. citizens ranging in ages from 15 to 44. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health challenges affect one in five adults in America, but nearly 60 percent of those don’t receive mental health services.
It is my goal to continue to shine a light on mental illness and share with you some mental health services available right here in our community.
We are fortunate to partner with Gilead Community Services, a Middlesex United Way funding partner, whose work has helped transform thousands of lives in Middlesex County, many of whom are your neighbors, friends and family members. Last year marked a monumental year for Gilead Community Services, as the group celebrated its 50th year of helping this community.
Gilead has proudly been a United Way partner for over 25 of those years.
Since 1968, Gilead has dedicated resources to providing high-quality services, such as housing, clinical support, and skills teaching to help individuals who live with mental health conditions. It offers opportunities for the population it serves to build trusting relationships, improve their quality of life, and, perhaps most importantly, regain hope that had been lost.
Through this work, Gilead brings respect, openness, and honesty every time members work with clients, families, co-workers and community members.
Every individual has unique needs, and the services offered at Gilead are designed to address these needs, and help each person achieve their personal goals. They are creative in designing customized programs and treatment plans that fit the needs of their clients and their families.
Services available to the community include outpatient clinics, social rehabilitation centers, community services, apartment services, residential services, family resources, and mental health first aid.
Gilead’s outpatient clinic in Middletown provides rehabilitation and recovery care for adults, couples and families with psychiatric, emotional or behavioral challenges. Clients receive therapy and/or medication management and counseling from their skilled staff, with meeting frequencies ranging from weekly to once every three months. The team works with clients to enhance their quality of life and pursue work, educational and personal goals.
If you, or someone you know, may be struggling with their mental health, there are numerous ways to get help. If you would like to learn more about Gilead’s services, you can visit their website at GileadCS.org or call 860-343-5300.
To learn more about other mental health options, or to speak with someone during a mental health crisis, you can call the United Way-funded 2-1-1 hotline 24/7 and speak with a contact specialist who can link you up with appropriate services.
We hope that by highlighting Mental Health Awareness Month, we can help to remove the stigma associated with mental health. At Middlesex United Way, our four main impact areas are education, income, health and housing.
Mental health is just that — your health. If you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact 2-1-1 or Gilead directly.
Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.