Santa Fe Holds Mental Health Expo
Health care providers and other organizations gathered Saturday at the Chavez Community Center for a Mental Health Fair organized by The Life Link.
May is Mental Health Awareness month.
The event featured music, arts and breakout sessions for people to learn how to deal with their own mental health needs and how to help others facing such problems.
The Keynote speaker was long time mental health care advocate Frederick Sandoval, who is currently Executive Director of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association.
He says they have made great strides in ending the stigma against people with mental health issues but there is still a long way to go.
Sandoval says advocates need to push even harder to get government officials and others to understand mental illness needs to be treated like any other disease. He says not everyone can be saved, but we should strive to help all of those we can.
“But for the folks we do help them get to move into the future, have children, become members of the community, contribute in their recovery and more importantly, finally be valued by a society that has excluded them through generations,” he said. “We get to now include those individuals that have every right to be members of a society that says we are all created equal.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, New Mexico has an age-adjusted suicide rate nearly double the average of the rest of the country. It also has higher rates of anxiety and depressive disorders.
The CDC also says more than 1 in 5 US youth and adults live with a mental illness.