Recognizing that one in five Americans lives with the burden of mental illness, First Selectman Timothy Herbst declared his commitment to the cause by officially proclaiming May as Mental Health Awareness Month in the Town of Trumbull.

The proclamation calls on the community to increase mental health awareness by promoting appropriate and accessible treatment services, fighting stigma and discrimination, and supporting prevention efforts for all.

“We are grateful to the Selectman for raising the visibility of this issue,” said Victor Olsen of the Mary J. Sherlach Counseling Center, noting that recent Community Conversations on Mental Health, held county-wide, pointed to lack of awareness and stigma about mental illness as being obstacles for people to seek help. “It's so important to increase public recognition about how common mental health problems are, and that treatment is available.”

The public is encouraged to learn more about mental health through free lectures, films, and training courses available during May. As reported in Health Minds, Healthy Communities, the new report based on the Community Conversations on Mental Health, Fairfield County residents face challenges stemming from the high achievement culture, stigma, the need for information about resources, and concerns about mental health in our schools.

“We believe that we can help reduce stigmas associated with mental health illness by educating residents,” said Patrice Sulik, Trumbull Monroe Health District Director of Health. “Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to enhance our knowledge of mental health so we can make a difference.”

The report is available at www.HealthyMindsCT.org, along with the May calendar of events and printable resource guides to mental health and addiction services in the region. Anyone in need of help should call 211 to be directed to services in the community, including a mobile crisis team.