Support mental health in rural America | Kiowa County Press

The value of the sharing of experienced experiences

(Family Features) In many parts of the country, a better understanding of mental health has led to greater awareness of its importance. Take-all description of emotional, psychological and social well-being, mental health affects the way people think, feel and act, according to the centers for disease control and prevention.

En fait, la santé mentale est une composante importante de la santé globale. However, in some instances, there remains a gap between understanding mental health and embracing solutions, particularly in rural areas.

“When my 28-year-old nephew committed suicide in a farming community where mental illness was never discussed, my mother bravely announced, ‘Enough. We’re going to talk about it, and we’re going to talk about it.’ in detail,” said Jeff Winton, founder and chairman of the board of the nonprofit Rural Minds.

His commitment to confronting suicide and mental illness in rural areas supports the organization’s goal of serving as an informed voice for mental health in rural America and providing health information and resources. mental. A major barrier to individuals seeking help in rural communities is the stigma often associated with mental health challenges. The organization is working to confront the stigma through people talking about their personal, lived experiences with mental illness.

Recognizing the value of sharing deeply personal stories about mental illness is also the message of Jeff Ditzenberger, a farmer who attempted suicide. His own challenges coping with and managing his bipolar II disorder while returning to farming motivated Ditzenberger to found TUGS, a mental health nonprofit whose mission is to fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues. and suicide.

Passionate about normalizing discussions about mental illness, Ditzenberger works with Rural Minds to encourage others in rural areas to talk about their struggles with PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or other mental issues. The goal is for people to be as comfortable discussing mental health as they are with COVID-19, the common cold or the flu.

“Sharing the burden of mental illness and life experiences can be really, really powerful,” said Dr. Mark A. Fry, consultant in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology of Mayo Clinic. “As a psychiatrist, I would tell you that this is an extremely important part of the overall treatment plan. In my opinion, the concept of peer support – sharing lived experiences with mental illness and supporting each other – is really invaluable.”

Obstacles in search of metal health support in rural areas
Although mental health is imperative for overall health, some people do not recognize mental illness as an illness; on the contrary, it is sometimes seen as a character flaw or a personal weakness.

“Mental disease is a disease – just like cancer or diabetes,” said Winton. “As is the case with many other illnesses, the person who is ill is not responsible for the illness. Much of the stigma surrounding mental illness can be rooted in the misdirected and unfair shame that can be An additional burden for someone who is already suffering from a mental illness.

“Like many people in rural America, I grew up in a farm and I was taught to get up by my boots and get back, move on and not think about it. Well, well, that’s not an acceptable response to a mental illness. You don’t do that with other illnesses. You can’t do that with a mental illness.

Collaboration is key
In the spirit of collaborating to better meet the mental health needs of rural America, Rural Minds is partnering with The National Grange, a family and community organization with roots in agriculture that was founded in 1867.

“Our aim in collaborating is to develop a grassroots, person-to-person approach to provide people who live in rural communities with mental health and suicide prevention information by working with local Granges, civic groups and community leaders across the country,” Winton said .

Help is available
There are several established organizations that provide mental health information and services across the country, but Rural Minds is entirely focused on addressing mental health issues in rural communities.

Find a free mental health compilation crisis resources and support and overall mental health resources and support at RuralMinds.orgwhich also offers access to recordings of educational webinars presented by the organization.

Photos published with the kind authorization of Getty Images

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About Florence M. Sorensen

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