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NMLM Feature: Mental Health Day

Posted by on October 10th, 2019 Posted in: Consumer Health, Education, Outreach, Public Libraries

Pratt Chat blog by Lauren Read

Mental Health Day

October is Health Literacy Month, and this post serves to highlight mental health, which often is given shorter shrift. 10 October’s commemoration as World Mental Health Day has sparked further interest in exploring and sharing the topic.

The 2019 theme of World Mental Health Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”  Suicide is an astounding public health issue. No demographic is immune to depression and its effects, and the statistics are most harrowing for young adults.  About 50% of suicide attempts involve major depressive disorder; 90% involve some diagnosable (and treatable) psychiatric disorder.

If this information has gotten you concerned, the good news is that there is plenty to do about it. Recognizing and treating (with or without pharmacology) depression and poor mental health is key. Building and maintaining personal connection and relationships can make the difference between feeling supported and seeming utterly alone. So whether you are in need or know someone who may be, regular communication makes all the difference. Be a life-line and potentially save a life!

One local group that has community education for talking with individuals in need as well as crucial support groups for survivors of suicide attempts and survivors of suicide loss is the Maryland chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The World Health Organization, which supports World Mental Health Day, has a wealth of information as well. And an easy-to-remember suicide crisis hotline is simply dialing 2-1-1.

The Pratt has a substantial research guide for Senior Mental Health Awareness in particular.  Of course, we have numerous books and other materials that cover mental health and suicide prevention. Pennsylvania Avenue Branch has an upcoming program for men and for women with expert-facilitated conversations on living with mental illness. And – not to be understated – increasing one’s social capital through the human connections fostered in “third places” such as the library is always a good thing. Be well.

Lauren Read is celebrating 10 years a librarian, having studied at Boston University (BA) and Rutgers University (MLIS) and having enjoyed an interesting, winding career path that has led to her present position in the Business, Science, and Technology Department at Enoch Pratt Free Library’s majestic Central Library. She walks to work from her home in Baltimore, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Patience & Fortitude, cats named after NYPL’s lions.


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