TWIN FALLS, Idaho — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and after a difficult year, local health organizations are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of mental health for people who are still struggling through this pandemic.
Health officials are encouraging everyone to take advantage of different events planned throughout the month to help address any of their mental health concerns.
“In general, a lot of people may not realize that there is a lot of people that deal with mental health issues and how many suicides we have a year," said Cody Orchard, a health education specialist for the South Central Public Health District. "This brings awareness to the community.”
“Most agencies have seen an increase in clients over the past year, and it’s been a busy year for all of us. So, definitely an increase so it’s more important than ever to reach out if you’re feeling stuck,” added Curtis Johnson, a Region V Behavioral Health Clinician.
Mental health can be a challenging topic to discuss, but it's a conversation officials are asking everyone to have, especially in light of the struggles brought on by COVID-19.
“We all need to acknowledge where we’ve been, and we all need to take advantage of that and take the opportunity to know how bad things can be," said Lori Stewart, the president of Magic Valley Suicide Awareness and Prevention. "To know how people can struggle and come out on the other side and just not forget that.”
Many organizations are planning both in-person and virtual events.
One of this year's events is a scavenger hunt that organizers hope can serve as a tool to get people back into the community.
“There are going to be several businesses in the community that they’re going to be locations and they’ll pick up a card, a little bit of information about mental health, and also get some fun different fun gifts and things. That’s going to start on May 11," said Johnson.
The scavenger hunt is set to end on May 25 to give people time to find all the destinations.