MiraVista Recognizes Mental Illness Awareness Week

HOLYOKE — MiraVista Behavioral Health Center will illuminate its façade green during Mental Illness Awareness Week, Oct. 2-8, and will hold a flag raising today, Oct. 10, at 10:30 a.m. on its campus at 1233 Main St., Holyoke, in recognition of World Mental Health Day.

Green is the color worn in support of those living with mental illness. World Mental Health Day dates back to 1992, when it was created by the World Federation for Mental Health. Its theme this year, in cooperation with such partners as the World Health Organization, is “Make Mental Health and Well-being a Global Priority.”

“World Mental Health Day 2022 is a universal call to make mental health and well-being a priority for all countries,” said Erica Trudell, MiraVista’s director of Inpatient Behavioral Health Services and Education. “One in eight people across the globe lives with a mental illness. One in 20 U.S. adults experiences a serious mental-health issue each year, and in 2020 in Massachusetts, 740 lives were lost to suicide.

“No one should suffer the consequences of an untreated mental-health condition,” she added. “MiraVista’s inpatient psychiatric care for adults, including those with co-occurring substance-use disorders, and for adolescents with a variety of diagnoses, is proof that, with help, these conditions can be managed and fulfilling lives lived.”

The first full week of October was designated Mental Illness Awareness Week by a U.S. Congress resolution in 1990 to honor the advocacy work of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Mental illness is an umbrella term for a number of conditions that can be diagnosed and treated short- or long-term.

This year, NAMI has established the theme for Oct. 2-8 as “What I Wish I Had Known” to highlight what those with lived experience of a mental illness would have found helpful to know earlier in recovery.

MiraVista Behavioral Health Center is promoting the theme “I Wish I Had Known I Wasn’t Alone” to emphasize that negative emotions and thoughts do not need to be faced in isolation. There is no reason to suffer alone with feelings such as unease, anger, or unwillingness to see others.

Getting a diagnosis is the start of recovery, as mental illness unaddressed is unlikely to improve on its own. Treatment for some of the most common conditions, like anxiety, depression, and mood swings associated with bipolar disorder, may include counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes for better self-care.

Since opening 17 months ago, MiraVista, which offers psychiatric and substance-use recovery treatment to both adolescents and adults, has served 15,000 inpatient bed days and had over 300,000 outpatient visits.