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Mental Health Awareness Month: Getting the support you need, when you need it


As part of Devereux’s continuum of care, the organization offers evidence-based, trauma-informed care to youth and adults with emotional and behavioral disorders.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
Aristotle, Green philosopher

Mental health is an important part of our overall health and well-being, affecting how we think, feel and act.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults (52.9 million) in the U.S. experience a mental illness each year, and 1 in 6 youth, ages 6 to 17, (7.7 million) experience a mental health disorder each year.

“Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to not only check in with yourself and evaluate how you are doing, but also reach out to those around you and let them know you care,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D. “Make a phone call or send a text message. A small gesture can have a significant impact, reminding someone they do not have to suffer alone or in silence.”

Common warning signs

NAMI states that 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24. While each illness has its own symptoms, common warning signs in youth and adults can include the following:

  • Excessive sadness or worrying
  • Extreme changes in mood, thought, energy or behavior
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or manage stress
  • Avoiding friends or social activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Overuse of substances, such as alcohol or drugs
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations)
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Coping with stress

While you often cannot control the stressors in your life, you can choose how you respond to them. The National Institute of Mental Health offers the following coping techniques to help you build resilience:

  • Keep a journal
  • Download an app that offers relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, or tips for practicing mindfulness
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy meals
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep, and stick to a bedtime routine
  • Avoid excess caffeine
  • Identify and challenge your negative thoughts
  • Reach out to friends and family members who can help you cope in a positive way

Important: If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988, or chat 988lifeline.org to be connected with a trained counselor from the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.) The hotline provides 24/7, free and confidential emotional support.

Devereux’s specialty mental health services

For those facing a mental health challenge, it is important to remember that help is available. Devereux offers evidence-based, trauma-informed care to youth and adults with emotional and behavioral disorders in community and residential treatment settings across the country. Diagnoses served include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Disruptive behavior disorders

“You do not have to face your struggles alone,” Graham noted. “Reach out to a family member, friend or healthcare provider. Opening up about your own mental health journey may encourage others to do the same.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s specialty mental health services.


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