One in five Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. What that means for your workplace and your family is that there is a strong likelihood that you or someone you interact with regularly will experience mental illness.
The stigma and shame that has long been associated with mental illness is a primary barrier to seeking help. Some people avoid seeking help for years because of the social stigma around mental illness. There are many organizations both locally and nationally that work tirelessly to advocate for mental health awareness and to help decrease the stigma surrounding it.
It is important to understand that mental illness is common – 18.5% of American adults surveyed in 2013 experienced a mental illness. That equates to nearly 44 million people. It is also important to know that wellness and recovery from mental illness is possible and providing hope, support, and access to resources are important components to getting there.
Frankly, it is ok to not be ok and asking for help requires strength and bravery. Someone who asks for help or who seeks treatment for a mental illness is not weak or broken, they are prioritizing wellness. Treating a mental illness should not be viewed differently than treatment for diabetes or kidney disease or cancer or any other medical condition.
Media has played a role in negatively associating mental illness with violent, dangerous people. In actuality, people suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators. It is not uncommon for people to have symptoms of mental disorders that may not be of the severity to warrant a mental health disorder diagnosis.
We strive to provide a work environment at Miner Institute that is supportive and encouraging and we want our staff to feel safe and to feel valued. We understand that this past year in particular has been more challenging and stressful than most and that stress can be a trigger for depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. Our staff is our best asset and it is of great importance that they remain healthy and well, which of course includes mental wellness.
Help is available if you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness.
Clinton County Suicide Prevention Hotline (24/7): 1-866-577-3836
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
For information about Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services: https://www.clintoncountygov.com/mental-health-addiction-services
For information about Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN) mental health services: https://bhsn.org/mental-health
The SUNY Plattsburgh Shine On! program is typically an overnight confidence and skill-building event for girls in grades 3-5. The pandemic cancelled the event in 2020 and organizers planned a virtual event in 2021, that was built around a downlink with the International Space Station the program was awarded from NASA. The conference was organized with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) theme with sessions geared toward students in kindergarten to grade 2; grade 3 to grade 5; and grade 6 to grade 8. The event attracted more than 6500 students from across New York State.
Miner Institute was pleased to be able to participate in this great program. We presented two sessions. The first session was for students in grades 6-8 and looked at respiration and how with increased exercise, the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled increases. This was illustrated by Research Technician Mark Haney (dressed in a cow suit) who exercised for three one-minute intervals with a 10 second rest afterward and then exhaled through a straw into a bromothymol blue solution that changed color when the pH changed, with more carbon dioxide. As Mark got more winded from exercise, the time it took to change the color of the solution decreased, and the amount of carbon dioxide he exhaled increased.
Our second session was presented to students in grades 3-5 and offered a prerecorded tour around Miner Institute with short interviews with staff about what they do. Graduate Student Cari Reynolds was the videographer, director, and editor of the video and she did a phenomenal job! (See video below) Cari then joined Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Rachel Dutil for a live portion where Cari showed students some of the unusual things that we feed to dairy cows such as citrus pulp, cotton seed, and almond hulls. We also told the students a little bit about William Miner and how Miner Institute came to be.
Big kudos goes out to Colleen Lemza from SUNY Plattsburgh and her extraordinary team of student organizers who were able to put together such a great program. We were honored to be a part of it and hope there are opportunities for future such collaborations.