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Greene County health officials tackle mental health issues


Greene County Health Department staff are taking mental health awareness to another level by using videos to let people know it’s okay to reach out, share their mental health story and ask for help.

“Last year we did our I-Plan (Illinois Project Needs Assessment),” said Molly Peters, administrator of the Greene County Health Department. “One of those needs was mental health awareness.”

Now Peters and his team are working with members of the community to create a series of videos to send a simple but important message – if you’re feeling any form of anxiety, depression or stress, or are having suicidal thoughts, it’s OK to talk to someone, be it a friend, family member or doctor who can help you get advice.

In the first video from the health department, a community member simply says, “…it’s easy to be complacent with our mental health. Problems come and go. But, remember, the effects you have on your loved ones can sometimes last forever…don’t let your pride get in the way.”

Peters hopes the videos will raise awareness of where people can go for help, starting with the health department website, but she also hopes to highlight the importance of speaking with someone.

“The more people share, the more people can help,” Peters said, adding that potential triggers for mental health issues range from substance abuse to the COVID-19 pandemic, loss of a loved one or loss of life. ‘a job.

Peters is well aware that people can be afraid to tell their story and seek help to manage their mental health.

“It takes a lot of courage” to speak, she says. “Greene County wants to help.”

Although the county health department is not a mental health facility, the department’s website offers resources to help people find help, Peters said.

A coalition set up by the health department is also helping those seeking mental health assistance.

“We are looking for people” for the coalition, Peters said.

A big step is ending the stigma around mental health, Peters said.

“As people share, we are able to learn more about our community, understand the challenges they face, and communicate what it is like for someone who has lived a life with depression, anxiety or other similar experiences that impact our mental health,” she said. .
“As we prepare to identify the needs of our community, we hope people will share experiences or resources that they have found helpful in improving mental well-being.”