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You can find mental health help—and we’re working to make sure more is on the way.

Today is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month. We shined a light on how trauma can harm our physical, emotional and mental well-being. 

We’ve told you how to find health and hope if you face mental health challenges. We also detailed the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our community’s mental health.

The good news: You can find help if you need it. And we’re working to make sure more is on the way.

The cost to our community.

Emotional health contributes to our community’s overall health. Poor mental health limits our children’s ability to succeed in school. It disrupts the daily life of people and families.  Since 1 in 5 people experience a mental illness during their lifetime, chances are you or someone you know has been affected.

Mental illness creates huge social and economic costs. It affects health care, business, education, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and emergency and social services.

The COVID-19 pandemic made things even more difficult for many of us. Our recent report, Pierce County Mental Health: A data-informed perspective, details what we’ve found. We discovered increases in:

  • Primary care visits for depression and anxiety.
  • Drug poisoning deaths and hospitalizations.
  • Gun sales, drive-by shootings and aggravated assaults involving guns.
  • Primary care visits for eating disorders.
  • Calls to regional crisis lines.
  • Calls to crisis lines for suicide concerns.
  • Incidents of self-harm.

The report tells us we need more behavioral and mental health services. While many of you have resumed aspects of your pre-pandemic life, we know some will have mental health concerns for years to come.

Moving forward.

Behavioral Health is front and center in our work. We included it in our strategic plan and created initiatives that will help children, youth, families, individuals and the community as a whole. You deserve to be safe and enjoy a life that’s balanced emotionally, physically and socially. 

You also deserve access to mental health resources when and where you need them. We need more behavioral-health providers and fewer barriers to mental health resources. We’re working with stakeholders, community leaders and behavioral health organizations to make that happen. 

In the months and years ahead, we will also:

  • Remain your source of info for behavioral health data and trends.
  • Work with workgroups and committees like the behavioral health committee led by Pierce County Human Services.  
  • Continue our work with groups like Kids Mental Health Pierce County that develop strategies to reduce our ER crisis. 
  • Support training programs like Mental Health First Aid for people who work in schools, law enforcement and other industries.

In the long term, we want youth and adults to be screened for mental health each time they connect with a community organization, a health provider or a faith-based organization. 

Need help now? 

If you struggle with behavioral health, you’re not alone. Many things play a role in your mental health, like:

  • Social connections.
  • Stress.
  • Your environment.
  • Health equity.

If you need help now, you can get it quickly!

Have suicidal thoughts? You can quickly access great resources.

Do you have a child or know a young person who is also struggling? Make sure they know they’re not alone

Only 1 in 9 people who need treatment for Opioid Misuse Disorder get it. We offer a number of medication-assisted treatment programs. You can choose a program that suits your needs.

The younger we intervene with alcohol use disorder, the better. Parents, schools and communities work together to help keep youth safe

You’ll hear more from us in the coming months about the critical importance of good behavioral health. Sign up to the Your Reliable Source blog to get the latest information.