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Mental Health in the Spotlight | News, Sports, Jobs

Above: Clubhouse Manager Darek Olson in front of Upward Bound’s resource collection. Upward Bound is located at 104 E. 5th St. in the Fairmont.

FAIRMONT- Last week was National Mental Illness Awareness Week, and clubhouses affiliated with the South Central Community-Based Initiative (SCCBI) promoted a series of daily activities aimed at raising awareness of mental health and mental illness I’ve been illness. This included Upward Bound 5th Street Express, Fairmont’s drop-in resource center for adults struggling with mental illness.

SCCBI Community Health Manager Alex Langsjoen and Upward Bound Clubhouse Coordinator Darek Olson emphasized the importance of recognizing mental illness in order to treat it effectively.

“There are people all over the world, so it’s okay to ask for help. I have neighbors, I have family, I have friends.” Langshawn said.

“Mental health … affects everyone to a greater or lesser degree. Some people are affected more than others, but there are things you can do to improve your mental health and make it easier for people suffering from various forms of mental illness.” .” Dalek said.

According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults have a mental illness, and 5.6% of adults have a serious mental illness that causes severe impairment.

“It’s like a physical disability. They’re not defined by it, you’re not defined by your ability to do anything or your disability.” Langshawn said.

At Upward Bound Olson works inside and outside the organization to connect people struggling with illness with the right support. Upward Bound provides a place for people struggling with mental illness to meet other people with similar problems and participate in programming that can improve their well-being.

“People know they can come down and that this is a safe place to get support.” Dalek said.

“It’s better than sitting at home and thinking about things. You can come here and distract yourself for a while.” said Gloria Olson, one of the members of Upward Bound.

Most of the activities Upward Bound hosted during Mental Illness Awareness Week focused on other areas of personal health, such as regular exercise and tidying up your workspace.

“These are things that everyone should do, but they are targeted ways to work on specific things that will improve your mental health in the long run.” Dalek said.

Other activities on Upward Bound’s October calendar include game night, crafts, and a shopping trip to Mankato. In addition to these activities, Upward Bound has other resources available to members, such as computers and recreation rooms.

“There are some members who didn’t have many friends before coming to the development center, but we made friends and built a support system.” Dalek said.

When someone seeks mental health help, Langsjoen recommends contacting county health agencies first.

“They’re mental health officials across Minnesota. They’re a safety net for people who can’t find care or compensation.” Langshawn said.

If county health agencies are unable to provide adequate assistance to people struggling with mental illness, they can refer you to organizations that can help.

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