Mental Health Matters
May is Mental Health Awareness month and if you think that mental health services and strategies are not important in a small town, think again.
Nationwide, we know that 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness over the course of their lifetimes and everyone will face challenges that can and will affect their mental health. Here are some other data points regarding the scope of mental health:
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
Data from the Kansas Communities That Care Survey for Clay County reveals that 45.61% of our high school students (10th & 12th grades surveyed), have experienced at least once in the past 12 months, where they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities. In addition 10% of our high school students have even had thoughts of suicide.
So What Can We Do?
Learn how to help - The Clay Counts Coalition is offering ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) for up to 30 participants on June 7/8 and June 9/10 for all of those interested ages 16 and up from Clay County. Check out this flyer for more information and to register for this FREE training.
Support your peers - Attend the 2021 Virtual Kansas Youth Community Change Conference (KYC3). KYC3 is open to middle and high school aged youth in Kansas. Registration is FREE and they have a ton of giveaways for participants. This is a totally youth-run event. To register, click here.
Know the signs - The SOS Signs of Suicide program offers resources for parents to understand the signs of suicide. They also offer access to a depression screening and tips on how to talk to your teen. SOS Signs of Suicide Parent Website.
Take part in Parenting Classes to provide the structure and support they need - Parenting Classes are available for FREE during the summer. The Loving Solutions class targets parents of strong-willed youth. In the fall and spring, The Parent Project classes will be available for parents working to change destructive adolescent behaviors. Check out the Loving Solutions flyer below.
Is There a Link Between Depression and Alcohol Use?
This video from AsapSCIENCE explains how alcohol affects the brain.
Our brains are operated by two types of neurons: glutamate and GABA, which have contrasting roles. Glutamate is responsible for excitation, and GABA is responsible for inhibition (inhibition of neurons, that is, not social inhibition). Alcohol suppresses glutamate and enhances GABA. That slows down information flow in your brain, which means you feel less, perceive less, notice less and remember less.
So, not only does alcohol mess with your brain’s chemistry and contribute to depression, but because it impairs your judgment, alcohol can lead you to do and say things that you later regret, which also feeds into depression and alcohol induced mental disorders.