May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a national observance held annually since 1949 to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.
According to Mental Health America, one-in-five American adults live with a diagnosable mental health condition. Mental health, defined as emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Though we all experience emotional ups and downs, mental health conditions extend beyond these emotional reactions to become something longer lasting. They are diagnosable medical conditions that, like other diseases, are treatable. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. However, many individuals are ashamed to seek help because of misconceptions about mental health.
The topic of mental health resonated with the Leadership Temple Class of 2022.
During their nine-month program, they saw first-hand how unaddressed mental health issues have led to homelessness, stressed the justice system and emergency departments, and became more aware of the landscape within the business community with employee burnout, distress, and suicide.
The group recognized a stigma still surrounds the topic of mental health and wanted to be part of changing the narrative.
Engaging the Temple High School Career & Technical Education Video Production students, the group produced a video public service announcement. In the video public service announcement, Mental Health is All Our Concern, the participants were vulnerable about their own mental health struggles, shared the facts surrounding mental health, and provided resources for those in need.
“We all have it [mental health]. Why are we so afraid to discuss it?” said Michael Rousell, CPA at Brockway, Gersbach, Franklin & Niemeier, and Leadership Temple Class of 2022 participant during the video public service announcement.
Typically when discussing mental health conditions, the language is clinical and impersonal. Though useful for doctors, it is isolating and unrelatable to those experiencing mental health conditions.
“The video project by Leadership Temple was a labor of love by the professionals engaged in the program,” expressed Shawn Reynolds, Chief of Police, Temple Police Department, and Leadership Temple Class of 2022 participant. “These professionals further recognized many misconceptions related to mental health and wanted to share personal experiences with mental health conditions and the facts to tackle the stigma associated with mental health.”
The video served as the opening to the Central Texas Community Health Summit: Connecting the Dots 5.0 on April 27, 2022, at the Central Texas Council of Governments. The theme of the annual regional summit was Prioritizing Community Mental Health.
“Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. It shows others that they are not alone in their feelings or symptoms,” noted Bre’Layshia Alexander, Baylor Scott & White Health and Leadership Temple Class of 2022 participant. “There are people that care and want to help and assist you.”
Reach out to the following for support:
In May, the Leadership Temple Class of 2022 participants will complete the Mental Health First Aid Certification through Central Counties Services. This 8-hour training teaches one to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health conditions and substance use disorders. It gives participants the tools to help friends, family, colleagues, and community members experiencing a mental health crisis.
The Leadership Temple Class of 2022 participants are Bre’Layshia Alexander, Baylor Scott & White Health; Jake Blair, PE, Kasberg, Patrick & Associates, LP; Alfonzo James, Walmart Distribution Center #6083; Kevin Koonce, Right Sized Inventory; Tyson McLaughlin, Extraco Banks; Nanette Pace, 4 Legs of Love Boarding & Boutique; Shawn Reynolds, City of Temple - Police Department; Michael Rousell, Brockway, Gersbach, Franklin & Niemeier, P.C.; David Shine, Shine Richardson Group of Wells Fargo Advisors; Brian Stokes, Woodward Creative Group; Jordan Valentin, SweetTooth Growth Solutions, LLC; and Branan Walker, Lengefeld Lumber Company.
Watch the video public service announcement Mental Health is All Our Concern on the Temple Chamber of Commerce YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/templetexaschamber, or website www.templechamber.com/mentalhealth.