Mental health treatment options highlighted in May ‘Look around, look within’ theme for ‘23

Published 7:27 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

By Jimmy Durham

May is not only a month of blooming flowers and sunny days, but also a time to recognize and prioritize mental health.

As Mental Health Awareness Month unfolds, residents of Oxford are encouraged to take a step back and reflect on their emotional well-being, while raising awareness and understanding of
mental health issues that affect countless individuals in our community.

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Mental Health Awareness Month, observed nationwide, serves as a reminder that mental health is just as crucial as physical health. It aims to destigmatize mental illness, promote mental wellness, and provide support and resources to those in need.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2023 is “Look Around, Look Within.” This theme emphasizes the importance of understanding how our surroundings – like safe and stable housing, healthy home lives, neighborhoods and cities, and nature – affect mental health.

Melody Maderis, executive director of Communicare said, “Mental health symptoms are often caused by genetics and chemicals, but it can also be caused by your environment and traumas you may experience.”

In addition to community-driven efforts, mental health professionals in Oxford are urging residents to prioritize self-care and emotional well-being. Simple practices such as exercise,
meditation, and spending time with loved ones can go a long way in maintaining good mental health.

One of the key messages emphasized during Mental Health Awareness Month is that seeking help is a sign of strength. Many individuals may hesitate to reach out due to the stigma
surrounding mental health, but the campaign seeks to break down those barriers.

“Most of the events we did were centered around substance use prevention and mental health acceptance, specifically focusing on youth in our community,” said Communicare’s Morgan

Communicare sponsors many events in the Oxford and Lafayette County communities to bring awareness to the mental health struggles experienced.

Fellows said, “In a partnership with OxFilm we sponsored a free drive-in family movie night featuring the film “Luca,” as well as 1-844-PIK-MEUP, a hotline featuring voice memos from kids aged K-6 grade in the area offering words of encouragement for people when they are feeling low.

“If you have a moment, definitely give it a listen – it’s probably one of my favorite projects we’ve done,” Fellows said.

Mental health practitioners and organizations in Oxford are working diligently to ensure that resources are readily available to those in need. They are promoting the availability of helplines,
counseling services, and support networks, making it easier for individuals to seek assistance when facing mental health challenges.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the importance of mental health, with many individuals experiencing heightened levels of stress, anxiety and isolation.

Those thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States by dialing 988.
People can also text Crisis Text Line at 741741 to talk to trained counselors free of charge 24/7.