The VI Department of Health’s Division of Mental Health, Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Services will open its doors to residents during the month of May to showcase the many services available to the public.
May is Mental Health Month and Health Commissioner Mercedes K.C. Dullum is encouraging residents to do their part to help de-stigmatize the issue of mental health illness and to help raise the awareness of mental health wellness.
The Department invites residents to participate in open houses to be held this month territorywide to learn more about services offered. Educational presentations on issues such as mental heal illness and mental health wellness, bullying and managing stress are among the activities offered throughout the month.
Dorris Hepburn, Director of the Mental Health Division, said that the commemorative events are planned to address important mental health issues through two themes this year. The first is Do More For 1 in 4, which is a call to action to help the one in four American adults who live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition and the fact that they can go on to live full and productive lives. The second theme is Healing Trauma's Invisible Wounds and focuses on the impact of traumatic events on individuals and communities by asking the person-based question: "What happened to you?"
“We want more people pledge to be their brother’s keeper or their sister’s keeper and find out what happened to their friends or families if they’re not acting like themselves.” Hepburn said. “If you know someone who may need intervention refer them to the Department of Health or a mental health service provider in the community.”
Residents can make initial contact for intervention services by calling 773-1311, Ext. 3013 on St. Croix and 774-4888 Ex. 2601 in the St. Thomas-St. John district.
This month’s events, which also includes Display exhibits, will also feature lectures on bullying to commemorate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which will observed on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, with an open house and film series on bullying from 3 pm. to 4:30 p.m. at Barbel Plaza on St. Thomas and the Charles Harwood Complex annex on St. Croix. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day highlights the importance of caring for every child’s mental health.
“Managing mental wellness is not just for adults, as kids often undergo stressful situations such as bullying where intervention may be necessary,” Hepburn said. “Last year, we had a very successful turn out and we are hoping that more of our children will take advantage of this free event.”
The schedule of activities is as follows:
ST. THOMAS-ST. JOHN DISTRICT
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open House. Barbel Plaza
- 3 to 4:40 p.m. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day’s Film Series
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
- 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Presentation. “Bullying.” Barbel Plaza
Tuesday, May 23, 2012
- 3:00-4:30 p.m. -- Presentation. “How to Care for Yourselves and Your Loves Ones in Stressful Times.” Barbel Plaza
ST. CROIX DISTRICT
Thursday, May 11, 2012
- 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. -- Open House. Charles Harwood Medical Complex.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
- 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Open Forum. Parenting Support Group, CHC Mental Health Building