When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
• About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence.
• Research shows that by ignoring mental health symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During most of these years most people still have supports that allow them to succeed—home, family, friends, school, and work. Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses.
• One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a mental health screening. Go to www.mhascreening.org to take a screening for either depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Use your screening results to start a conversation with your primary care provider, or a trusted friend or family member and begin to plan a course of action for addressing your mental health.
• MHA’s goal is to get every American screened and aware of their mental health, so they can address it #B4Stage4.
Help Find New Homes for 1,000 People with Disabilities
There are over 145,000 people living with serious disabilities in New Jersey who collect Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits which means they live on less than $800 per month while struggling with developmental disabilities, mental illness, addictions and/or homelessness. Many of these individuals cannot afford to live independently and are relegated to living at home with aging parents, living in substandard housing or have no place to live. New Jersey’s Department of Human Services provides housing in licensed community beds or through rental vouchers to only approximately 15,000 people.
On December 14, 2012, Mary Joy Sherlach, school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, gave her life to protect the students she served. Her family and friends created Mary’s Fund to honor her legacy and continue her important work.
The mission of the fund is to support programs that aid the mental and social wellness of children and adolescents as Mary did in her day-to-day life. Initially created in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the New Jersey chapter will support mental health charities such as the Mental Health Association in Southwestern New Jersey.
This new chapter of Mary’s Fund was envisioned by South Jersey residents Maura and Eric Schwartz. Maura is one of Mary’s two daughters. Maura and Eric have a vested interest in the psychological health of children and adolescents and want to continue Mary’s life work.
The Mary’s Fund Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, August 28, 2015, at the Ramblewood Country Club, 200 Country Club Pkwy, Mt. Laurel, NJ.