Bringing Mental Health Awareness to the Basin

Bringing Mental Health Awareness to the Basin

The Speak Your Mind Texas event which was held at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa Monday is part of a state-wide initiative to discuss mental health issues affecting the community.
Losing a sister to suicide was one of the hardest things Kathy Haddock had to overcome.

“It's hurtful, it hurts very much but if that story helps to bring families together and people to start talking about these issues then it's going to be worth it,” Haddock said.

Monday, Haddock shared her story during the Speak Your Mind Texas event put together by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

The event, which was held at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, is part of a state-wide initiative to discuss mental health issues affecting the community.

During the town-hall-style conversation, speakers discussed the warning signs of mental illness and substance abuse and spoke on the resources available to those struggling with mental illnesses in the Permian Basin.

“You want to stop that problem early on and the way you do that is to have the community come together and speak about how do we address these problems early,” said Mary Anderson, Regional Medical Director at DSHS.

The event focused on teens and young adults because according to Anderson, more than 50 percent of the people that are going to develop mental illnesses develop them by age 14.

“The way to erase that stigma is to talk about ways to prevent mental health problems early on,” Anderson said.

According to DSHS, signs of mental illness may include frequent sadness or changes in mood or behavior, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, not wanting to go to school or work, fighting with family and friends, drug and alcohol abuse, hopelessness, feeling confused, wanting to hurt oneself or others, hearing voices, isolation or suicidal thoughts.

“A mental illness is not something to be ashamed of,” Haddock said. “ It's something to talk about and seek help.”

A help that she received and now hopes to share with others in West Texas.

“If you saved one person and one family from the agony of severe mental health problems, you have really done a service to the entire community,” Anderson said.

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