May marks Mental Health Awareness Month |

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Family members and friends. Children and the elderly. Rich and poor. Mental illness can affect anyone and#8212; no matter what age, sex gender or ethnic background.

Placer Countyand#8217;s Campaign for Community Wellness (CCW) urges communities to know the facts and warning signs of mental illness, spread the word and support community wellness efforts. A main goal of the awareness push is to challenge community members to consider their views toward mental illness and respect those who live with these disorders.

and#8220;All of us must work together to eliminate the stigma too often associated with these disorders,and#8221; said Emilio Vaca, executive director, North Tahoe Family Resource Center in Kingand#8217;s Beach that provides services and support to children, youth and families.

Nearly one in five people in California reports needing help with a mental or emotional health problem, according to a University of California, Los Angeles 2010 study. And, nearly one out of every five children will experience emotional or behavioral difficulty. These mental health disorders are often treatable and most people experience tremendous relief from their symptoms by getting help from community based programs.

One such program, offered at the North Tahoe Family Resource Center, is Life Skills Training (LST). LST is proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence. This program provides adolescents and young teens, along with their parents, the confidence and skills necessary to successfully handle challenging situations. There is an outdoor component to this program. In partnership with Adventure Risk Challenge, youths are exposed to a range of natural environments and wilderness experiences to inspire confidence and build self-esteem.

Without programs such as LST and others like it the consequences of mental illness for the individual and community are significant. A 2001 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine article indicates unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration and suicide may result.

Fortunately in California the Mental Health Services Act passed as Proposition 63 by California voters in November 2004 is responsible for a major shift in the way California provides mental health services, moving away from a model that provided primarily crisis care and institutionalization toward a system that includes wellness, recovery, prevention and early intervention.

On Tuesday, May 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m., CCW invites the public to a Community Roundtable in Recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. This semi-annual opportunity unites people to celebrate exceptional work done in Placer County, hear stories of recovery and inspiration and discuss ways to enrich its service network. Buffet and refreshments will be served; the roundtable will take place at the Rocklin Community Center, 5480 Fifth Street, Rocklin. Please RSVP to Cindy Cassidy at or at 530-886-1812.

For a complete list of resources for mental and behavioral services in Placer County, visit For North Tahoe Resource Center, visit

For more information about mental and behavioral wellness support, visit

and#8212; Submitted to

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