Tuesday starts off National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month, where health professionals educate the community on signs of depression and mental illness, as well as substance abuse prevention. Monday night the Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is holding a virtual evening of hope in order to support those who have lost someone to suicide, or for those who are struggling with their own mental health.
23ABC’s Bayne Froney spoke with the hospital about the event as well as how people can get support if they are struggling with depression or substance abuse.
“There is a huge stigma against mental health. People don’t want to be perceived as crazy or that there is something wrong with them," explained Teena Bensusen, a community liaison with the Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. "But what we need everyone to know is mental health is just as important as your physical health."
Kern Behavioral Health is also providing many events during the month of September to help educate the public about depression and suicide prevention, as well as ways to get help if needed.
“So we are just trying to put some positivity out into the community and let people know that there are ways to keep connected with services,” said Mitchall Patel of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
September also represents Recovery Month, highlighting those who have recovered from mental illness or substance abuse. Especially during the pandemic, officials believe it is important to spread awareness to those who may be hurting in isolation.
“Addiction usually equals isolation and then with the pandemic, it can also enhance the addiction,” explained John Kryvoruka, the next steps coordinator at The Mission at Kern County.
The Mission at Kern County encourages people who may be struggling with substance abuse or depression to seek help and not be afraid to reach out to loved ones or professionals for support.
“Call somebody, reach out to someone it’s never too late. There is many people that care about you, care about the situation that you’re in and they want to see you through,” added The Mission's Executive Director Carlos Baldovinos.
The Virtual Evening of Hope event starts at 7:30 Monday night and you can find a link on the Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Facebook page.