This month, the Washington County Public Library is partnering with the Washington County Behavioral Health Board and local providers to host Mental Health Awareness events in Belpre and Marietta, Ohio for Mental Health Awareness Month.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, each year, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience a mental health condition, with 1 in 25 adults experiencing a serious mental health illness. Even though most people can experience relief from symptoms and support for recovery in treatment, less than half of adults in the United States get the help they need.

Despite most people experiencing a mental health condition or knowing someone who has, people experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying, even discrimination. This can make the journey to recovery longer and more difficult.

“The stigma surrounding mental health disorders often prevents people from getting help,” said Hilles Hughes, Deputy Director of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board. “As a result of passing the Mental Health levy, we now have more resources to help people in our county. Talking about behavioral health helps reduce stigma and creates a more accepting and collaborative community. We don’t want people to feel isolated, excluded or alone and need individuals to serve as role models, mentors and leaders so that we can all thrive in Washington County.”

Events will take place at the Belpre Public Library on Monday, May 20th and the Marietta Branch Library on Thursday, May 23th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Staff from Hopewell Health Center and Life & Purpose Behavioral Health will lead discussions on mental health treatment and ending stigma associated with mental health. Both events are free and open to the public, with light refreshments provided and no sign-up required.

“I want people to understand what options are available for support for themselves or family/friends when dealing with mental health issues and really focus on normalizing and educating about treatment,” said Adryanne Garrett, Clinic Director for Hopewell Health Center’s Washington County Behavioral Health Clinic. “I believe this is imperative in reducing the stigma associated with treatment. Treatment is not taboo and people in treatment are not “crazy.” We want to help people have a vocabulary for talking about these issues.”

The Washington County Public Library has seven locations and a bookmobile located across Washington County, Ohio. The mission of the Washington County Public Library is to encourage lifelong learning by providing access to information, literacy resources, and technology to the people of Washington County.