Record editorial: There remains much work to be done on mental health
Summit County residents have an awful lot to be proud of when it comes to our progress on mental health. Thanks to the efforts of many community members, there is more awareness about the issue, and resources for those facing challenges, than ever before. The progress in just the last five years has been a source of inspiration.
Yet there’s so much more to be done.
That point was hammered home by a survey the Summit County Health Department recently released. Among the reams of valuable insight the report offered were startling statistics like these:
• Nearly 58% of residents do not believe it is easy to talk about mental health issues
• Only 55% believe they would be able to talk to someone if they were experiencing a mental health problem
• 47% report experiencing three or more days in the prior month in which their mental health was poor
• 31% of people who need mental health services report being unable to access it, for reasons such as cost, stigma and not knowing about available resources
Data such as that makes clear that, for all of the time and effort we’ve put into addressing the issue, too many of our friends and neighbors are still suffering. And too often, they’re doing it in silence.
That’s a frustrating reality to confront, especially in a community that prides itself on being forward-thinking when it comes to mental health.
At the same time, the reality that there’s a long road ahead does not diminish the progress we’ve made to get this far. In fact, it underscores the importance of the work undertaken by the many people and groups that have been part of the effort to bring the topic into the spotlight.
It also highlights the need for the work to continue until every Summit County resident feels safe to discuss their mental health and understands where they can access help when needed.
There’s every reason to believe the efforts will press on until that occurs. Our community over the last several years has demonstrated its commitment and proven that people who care can make a difference.
There’s more work to be done and, fortunately, community members who are willing to step up.
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