Mayor proclaims ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ in Cullman

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Pictured, L-R: Chris Van Dyke (COO, WellStone), Melodie Parsons (Outreach Service Coordinator), Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs, Tommie Sanders (Substance Abuse and Prevention Program Coordinator), and Jeremy Blair (CEO).

 CULLMAN, Ala. On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs proclaimed the month of May 2021 “Mental Health Awareness Month” in the City of Cullman.  

Mental Health Awareness Month was started in 1949 by Mental Health America to communicate the importance of mental health is to overall health and well-being. Since that time, other organizations have joined MHA in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month each May by bringing tools, resources and education on mental illness to the general public and to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. 

“I am glad to proclaim May ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ in Cullman because I believe it’s very important to raise awareness about mental health concerns in our community,” said Mayor Jacobs. “Mental health issues affect all of us in some way, especially during the past year as we have dealt with the pandemic.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic presented people throughout the country with many different challenges and obstacles. As a result of the pandemic, even people who have never experienced mental health challenges before found themselves struggling for the first time.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 44% of people were dealing with either depression or anxiety in November 2020. Historical data shows that 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health problem. Now more than ever, it is important to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns, to provide tools to help people improve their mental health and to provide information on when and how to seek professional help for mental health issues.  

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Month highlights the mental health toolkit, #Tools2Thrive, to help people learn how to prioritize mental health, build resiliency and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19. Six topics comprise the toolkit: Adapting after Trauma and Stress, Processing Big Changes, Getting Out of Thinking Traps, Radical Acceptance, Taking Time for Yourself and Dealing with Anger and Frustration. These tools can be found online at https://mhanational.org/mental-health-month 

Officials from WellStone Behavioral Health who were present at Cullman City Hall to accept the proclamation from Mayor Jacobs were Jeremy Blair (Chief Executive Officer), Chris Van Dyke (Chief Operating Officer), Tommie Sanders (Substance Abuse and Prevention Program Coordinator), and Melodie Parsons (Outreach Service Coordinator). WellStone is a nonprofit community organization offering a wide range of mental health related services, including accessible outpatient counseling and psychiatric services, for citizens in Cullman and throughout North Alabama.  

“Good mental health is critical to the well-being of our families, our communities, our schools and our businesses,” said Mayor Jacobs. “The City of Cullman appreciates all that WellStone and other local organizations do to bring awareness to and provide services for mental healthrelated issues.” 

In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, WellStone will be placing green ribbons throughout town. Businesses and other organizations may also display green ribbons during the month of May. The green ribbon is the international symbol for mental health awareness. 

WellStone will also be sponsoring De-Stress Fest Saturday, May 15, 2021, from 11 a.m. 2 p.m. The event will be held at Depot Park in downtown Cullman and will feature fun and relaxing activities to help reduce stress and balance body and mind.  

In the Mental Health Awareness Month proclamation, Mayor Jacobs called upon all citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools to join in spreading the word that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, that mental illnesses are common and treatable and that seeking professional help to improve mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness.  

Below are resources for those who wish to learn more about mental health issues or about Mental Health Awareness Month: 

WellStone: https://www.wellstone.com/  

Alabama Department of Mental Health: https://mh.alabama.gov/  

Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/  

Online Mental Health Screening: https://mhanational.org/mental-health-month.