BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The month of May signals the start of Mental Health Awareness Month and Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will host several events and activities to shine a light on the importance of mental health.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that in 2020 over 20-percent of adults experienced mental illness, which represents 1 in 5 adults and that is why the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services are encouraging everyone towards taking that first step to getting the help that they need
Stacy Kuwahara, the behavioral health director at KBHRS says that our mental health affects so many parts of our lives including our jobs, school, and relationships. It also affects our physical health, which can take a toll on how much rest we get.
“Finding new ways to continue to have this conversation and make ourselves available and let our community know about what is in the community to support them is so important, and we are really appreciative that we have this month and this opportunity to tell you a little more about what we’ve got going on.”
Kuwahara adds that the 12 events that take place this May will serve as a reminder for community members to understand how normal it is to reach out for help. She says that addressing the need for help is step one and treating your mental illness is step two for learning skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Rajlal adds that continued struggles and uncertainty through the past year of the pandemic have shown just how important it is to really start these conversations around mental wellness not only with our loved ones and our family members but with the whole community.
“Not wanting to identify yourself with somebody who is more chronically mentally ill and having some concerns about saying I am struggling right now, it’s just hard sometimes to recognize that we’re not 100 percent and to reach out and ask for help,” added Kuwahara.
Kuwahara adds that although there are cultural stigmas associated with mental health she encourages everyone to understand just how normal it is not only to experience it but to seek help immediately.
“Mental health affects all of us. We’ve all had struggles to varying degrees with mental health issues. Specific cultures and backgrounds have different challenges in accessing services and asking for help.”
Kuwahara says that their mental health services throughout the whole community exist in terms of outpatient providers, substance abuse services, and mental health services for both children and adults.
“As far as all of the services that address our total well-being whether it is physical health, your spiritual health, going in to plant it into our wellness and have a huge impact on our overall mental health.”
The KBHRS has a wide variety of resources for those seeking help with their mental illness.