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Berrien County groups attacking mental health head-on

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich – The Healthy Berrien Consortium which includes the Berrien County Health Department are seeking to bring attention to mental health with their community resiliency series.  

“I think it’s a great tool to have for the community to educate people on how to deal with mental illness,” Berrien County resident Jayme Cox said. 

What many call an overlooked issue will highlight warning signs, resources for help and ways to educate the public about the issue during the month long series.

“Our overall goal is to make sure that we educate the community so they can have the resources the awareness as well as the training that they need to understand that mental health is very big in our community,” Collective Impact Initiative’s Program Coordinator Michaela Bradley said.  

According to the Healthy Berrien Consortium the number for specific diagnoses of mental illness are difficult to pinpoint because of varying illnesses and their severity.  

In Michigan 24-percent of the population has had atleast one adverse childhood experience also known as ACEs in the healthcare community, and 23-percent have had two to three experiences which experts say can often trigger mental illness. 

Bradley says hopefully this series along with others helps Destigmatize the illness which would lead to more people coming forward and better outcomes.  

“There’s a big stigma especially in the African-American community around mental health and mental health disparities because people don’t wanna be labeled as crazy or think that something negative is going on within themselves and lives I think that if people were more educated regarding the signs and symptoms of mental health they’d be able to better address it,” Bradley said. 

The Berrien County Health Department says hopefully this series tackles the issue head on. 

“In the 2016 community health needs assessment mental health stressors poor mental health really rose to the top concern so looking at that along with some other community data we were seeing around suicides and depression Healthy Berrien Consortium really just felt like this was the thing we needed to focus on,” Berrien County Health Department Deputy Health Officer Courtney Davis said.  

Click here for a list of locations and times for the upcoming events in the series. 

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