Mental Health Day at the Mississippi Capitol – and today the Capitol went green to raise awareness.
Mental health advocates meeting at the state capitol to discuss common issues faced by those with mental illness.
Monica Wolters says she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001.
Monica Wolters says, “Back at that time no one ever mentioned the word recovery to me. so trying to find recovery was a really big struggle. They didn’t have peer support specialists back then.”
Wolters says it was when she got involved with groups of mental illness advocates that she started to get better.. and most importantly it helped her feel she was not alone.
Monica Wolters says, “I have made long-lasting friendships. I have plenty of peers that support me. If I’m down in the dumps I have peers that I can call that get it and understand. that’s the power of peer support.”
Health advocates say one in five people will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime in the United States.
Wendy Bailey with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health says the number of suicides in the state is still rising.
People meeting with lawmakers hope to see mental health-related bills passed to help the cause.
Wendy Bailey says, “Several pieces of legislation. our appropriations bill will be worked on over the next several weeks so we’ll see that. Also, there’s the school safety act. we have the stand-up Mississippi campaign. we have a large opioid grant from the government. we are trying to get treatment for those who struggle with opioid addiction.”
Jackson police are focused on better preparing officers to deal with people suffering from mental health issues — crisis intervention officer Colendula Green is seeking help from lawmakers.
Jackson Police Department Colendula Green says, “Being that I am the only instructor. I train our department as well as others on how to deal with the mentally ill. we want to make sure we have services available to them instead of arresting them.”
Leaders encourage everyone to get involved with the cause by being more understanding of those suffering from mental illness.