By Lauren Read, Business, Science, & Technology Librarian
October is Health Literacy Month, and this post serves to highlight mental health, which often is given shorter shrift. October 10th’s commemoration as World Mental Health Day has sparked further interest in exploring and sharing the topic.
The 2019 theme of World Mental Health Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” Suicide is an astounding public health issue. No demographic is immune to depression and its effects, and the statistics are most harrowing for young adults. About 50% of suicide attempts involve major depressive disorder; 90% involve some diagnosable (and treatable) psychiatric disorder.
If this information has gotten you concerned, the good news is that there is plenty to do about it. Recognizing and treating (with or without pharmacology) depression and poor mental health is key. Building and maintaining personal connection and relationships can make the difference between feeling supported and seeming utterly alone. So whether you are in need or know someone who may be, regular communication makes all the difference. Be a life-line and potentially save a life!
One local group that has community education for talking with individuals in need as well as crucial support groups for survivors of suicide attempts and survivors of suicide loss is the Maryland chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The World Health Organization, which supports World Mental Health Day, has a wealth of information as well. And an easy-to-remember suicide crisis hotline is simply dialing 2-1-1.
The Pratt has a substantial research guide for Senior Mental Health Awareness in particular. Of course, we have numerous books and other materials that cover mental health and suicide prevention. Pennsylvania Avenue Branch has an upcoming program for men and for women with expert-facilitated conversations on living with mental illness. And – not to be understated – increasing one’s social capital through the human connections fostered in “third places” such as the library is always a good thing. Be well.