May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres leading the proclamation with a signing ceremony last Monday.
Torres encourage policy makers, nonprofit organizations, schools, businesses, other entities, and the CNMI people to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities to promote mental health and wellness for all individuals and families in the Commonwealth.
According to the proclamation document, mental health involves people’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being and it is therefore crucial for the community to acquire knowledge that mental health affects the way we think, feel, and act. “Mental health is our wealth, as we are able to forgive and be generous to ourselves in times of struggle. We are able to go ‘back to basics,’ where it’s never too late to start again,” it added.
There is, however, a strong stigma associated with mental health and getting help, often associated with weakness. This, the proclamation said, can be attributed to a misunderstanding regarding mental health, along with generational cultural differences.
“The need for comprehensive, coordinated, and effective mental health services for individuals and families at the community level in a language they can understand places a critical responsibility upon our community; and contributing to the needs of our community is fundamental to the future of the CNMI.
“Another year is presented for us to share knowledge and information about mental health services and what we can do if our mental health wellness becomes a concern.
“The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., along with key and valued stakeholders, partners, and community members, are committed to strengthening and sustaining the delivery of mental health care in our community and working collectively to strengthen the buy-in that mental health is important,” it states. (Saipan Tribune)