Community mental health events to highlight local resources

SOUTH BEND, Ind., — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it comes at a crucial time with a spike in national and local gun violence, compounded by the pandemic. That’s why community leaders held free events on Friday to highlight the local resources available.

“People are out of work, people are still having COVID effects and it’s just time to come together and say enough is enough and how can we start ending the mental health stigma,” the president said. of South Bend City Council, Sharon McBride, who also represents the Third Borough.

McBride joined Mental Health Awareness of Michiana to host a series of free mental health events on Friday that highlight other local organizations and resources available to the community.

Something McBride thinks the community could benefit from, especially now.

“The rise in gun violence that we have, how tragic it is that people are putting guns in their hands and people are losing family members and lives. It’s just saddening and sickening to our community.

The events come just days after a Michiana mother was fatally shot on Wednesday less than a week after burying her five-year-old son.

The little boy was accidentally shot and killed earlier this month.

“Right now, no better time than Mental Health Month to try and acknowledge and put our arms around each other and say we’re in this together, we need each other. others,” McBride explained.

“We know that it is the people who need crisis intervention who end up in prison who would be much better served by the mental health system,” added Lisa Kelly, president of Mental Health Awareness of Michiana.

Although suicides fell in 2020 nationwide, experts said those numbers rose among communities of color in 2021 in the United States.

According to Indiana health officials, suicides are the second leading cause of death among Hoosiers between the ages of 10 and 34.

City leaders hoped that events like this highlighted the importance of mental health not only in helping to prevent these kinds of tragedies, but also violence in the community.

“Suicide rates have gone up during the pandemic, so we absolutely are and substance abuse issues are up as well,” Kelly explained. So we really want people to know that if they’re having difficulty, it’s important to know what resources are available and to get help as soon as possible.

“…it’s an outlet that we have and I think by bringing it to light and having different resources available, parents, teachers, families and children can get help,” added McBride.

For more information on mental health resources, click here.