Lakeland, FL – While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevents individuals from seeking help. Each year, Peace River Center (PRC) engages in a Mental Health Awareness Month campaign to encourage individuals to seek care and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. This year’s campaign, Make It OK encourages everyone to have conversations about mental illness, and provides guidance on what to say and what not to say when someone opens up about mental illness. Everyone can help Make It OK; community members do not have to be a mental health expert to help.
“Now more than ever it’s important to talk about mental wellness, be aware of the resources, and share with our friends and loved ones who might be struggling,” said Ileana Kniss, Director of Development and Community Relations at PRC.
“Our staff are trained ambassadors of the Make It OK campaign and are available to present virtually and in-person to organizations willing to reduce the stigma. Make It OK is made possible by HealthPartners Inc. and has been modified to fit our area. To request a presenter, visit www.peacerivercenter.org/makeitok.
Additional educational presentations are available as well as activities to support Mental Health Awareness Month. To register or participate visit: www.peacerivercenter.org/events
The awareness activities and virtual sessions include:
• May 11 – 1:30 p.m. Via Zoom: A Family’s Journey: A Story on Substance use, Mental Health and Recovery: Join us to hear one family’s story on how substance use affected their life, mental health and how their recovery journey is helping others. Register today!
• May 12- Wear Green Day: Show your support during Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing a selfie on social media with #green4prc. Let everyone know you’re participating.
• May 13 – 8:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. Via Zoom: A Candid Conversation to Make It Ok: Learn more about Make It OK, a community campaign to reduce mental illness stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding.
• May 18 – An In-Depth Look at Children’s Mental Health – 2:00 p.m. Via Zoom: PRC’s Children’s Services Manager will look at the impact of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), plus share resiliency tips and coping skills caregivers can use to help kids.
• May 25 – 8:30 to 1:45 – Stuart Center, Bartow: Mental Health First Aid: MHFA teaches attendees how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. *Requires pre-registration.
• May 27 – Identifying and Understanding Teens’ Risky Behaviors: a presentation by Own the Upside and Avoid the Downside + Peace River Center: Are you concerned about your teen’s mental health, lack of success, or possible drug use? Join us for a virtual tour of what risky behavior clues to look for plus when and how to access help.
Have questions? Contact Peace River Center’s Community Relations department at CommunityRelations@PeaceRiverCenter.org.
About Peace River Center
Peace River Center is a licensed and accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. Peace River Center provides options for people struggling with mental health and addiction, for children and adults coping with the trauma of abuse and violence, crisis intervention for people in acute need, and housing and community support and integration for people affected by domestic violence or whose recovery requires more support and time. Peace River Center offers inpatient, outpatient, home-, school- and community-based services, telehealth, and mobile programs to individuals, groups, and families. Peace River Center’s dedicated and compassionate staff of more than 400 operate 36 programs out of 27 locations and provide 24/7 emergency psychiatric response services to the community through our mobile psychiatric Crisis Response Team. In FY2020, Peace River Center had contact with and provided services to more than 21,500 children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. For more information visit www.PeaceRiverCenter.org.