Guest post written by Michelle A. Martin, Director of Community Engagement for GSWNY
For more than a century, girls and adults alike have taken the Girl Scout pledge as a way to commit to treating people in their lives, community and around the world:
On my honor, I will try: To serve God* and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law. The Girl Scout Promise and Law has served as a reminder that both girls and women alike in the movement are in fact ‘keepers” of the world around them.
As you may have heard from the various media outlets, aside from the showers, flowers, celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month for the past 25 days, during the month of May, we have been acknowledging the very real need for Mental Health Awareness. Started in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month was created to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. In recent years, the meaning has expanded as a rallying cry to ensure you are taking care of yourself.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the theme has been “togetherness.” The term has been used to show counties, states and the country can work collectively to overcome the obstacle placed before us. Stars, elected officials and media influencers have delegated us to check on each other, social distance, spend time using Zoom, Google Meet, and even Teams, to make sure everyone has the connection and support they need – to check on your sister – be their keeper.
There are still 5 days left this month for you to keep your eye out for signs of depression, an emotional struggle, isolation and make a call to get the help that someone you know so desperately needs. During the month of May particularly but including the other 11 months of the year, there are countless resources available to ensure the signs turn into action, support and help. Today, I encourage you to live our pledge and be your sister’s keeper. I have included resources below that can help you with mental illness and how to navigate intervention for someone suffering.
- Crisis Text Line | If you are in crisis, reach out for help. Text REASON to 741741. Free, 24/7, confidential.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline | DIAL: 1-800-273-8255
Local resources and organizations:
- 2-1-1 Lifeline (Covers Monroe, Livingston, and other counties to the east)
- 2-1-1 Lifeline (Covers Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming)
- Mental Health Association of Rochester
- Orleans County Department of Mental Health
- Genesee County Department of Mental Health
- Livingston County Department of Mental Health
- Cattaraugus County Community Services
- Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene and Dependency Department
- Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County
- Erie County Mental Health
- Mental Health Advocates of WNY
- Niagara County Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Mental Health Association of Niagara County
- Wyoming County Mental Health Department