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How Best to Treat Mental Illness

Posted on May 6, 2019 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Offering Support, Not Shame

By Alice Kenny

Nearly twice as many Americans – 1 in 5 - struggle with mental illness than with allergies.  Yet unlike a sneeze, tissue and pat on the back, those with mental illness and those who love them too often feel shamed into hiding their struggles. This is why Catholic Charities NY is giving a shout out to Mental Health Awareness Month this May and highlighting the abundance of services we provide children and adults faced with this disorder.

Most important, please know that mental illness is not only common but is treatable. 

This is why Catholic Charities NY caters its treatment to individual needs.  Our services include, to name a few highlights:

  • Catholic Charities affiliate, Astor Services for Children and families, and its therapeutic services for preschoolers struggling with mental health issues
  • Beacon of Hope, including residences and day programs run by Catholic Charities NY  for approximately 400 individuals for persons with serious and persistent mental illnesses
  • St. Augustine Apartments – includes 35 brand new supportive housing units for residents served by Beacon of Hope facing severe mental health issues
  • Holy Rosary Shelter in Harlem housing the hardest to help homeless, those plagued by mental health issues and living on the streets for years.
  • Addiction prevention programs

“How far can a person excel if they’re given a leg up,” says James, a Beacon of Hope client in this recently released video.  “This is a brand new space and it’s mine.”

At Catholic Charities, we know how important it is to effectively treat mental illness and care for the mentally ill.  This is why we offer so many programs and build supportive housing tailored to their needs. Mental illness is directly linked to homelessness (26%), adult incarceration (20%) and children in the juvenile justice system (70%), according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest organization dedicated to building better lives for Americans affected by mental illness.

Mental Health American, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit addressing and promoting the needs of those with mental illness and spearheading Mental Health Awareness Month offers some Simple, Creative Steps that Help*

  • Tell a Joke.  Seriously. Humor decreases stress hormones, stimulates the heart and lungs, increases activity in the brain’s reward system and increases those natural pain blockers called endorphins
  • Adopt a dog. Or any pet. Pets reduce anxiety, depression, anger and even improve their owner’s ability to socialize
  • Hang out with others.  Loneliness has been shown to shorten lifespans as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
  • Take care of your soul.  We’re not just saying this because we’re Catholic Charities.  Studies show that people attending religious services show a 22% lower risk of depression.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness, now – Mental Health Awareness month – is the time to get help.  Catholic Charities NY is here for you.