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Join ECMC in recognizing Mental Health Month

Artwork created by its behavioral health patients will be displayed in various parts of Erie County Medical Center next week as part of the hospital’s monthlong effort to recognize May as Mental Health Month.

ECMC is the regional behavioral health Center of Excellence. It is hosting special conferences and events throughout the month designed to increase awareness about mental health conditions and treatment.

Community education tables will be set up in the main lobby next Friday and May 29.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health Association of Erie County are working with the hospital to help offer special training to ECMC staff and partnering organizations. The hospital also is airing short clips at to raise awareness.

One in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year, according to hospital officials and one in 20 people lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Fifty percent of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and three-quarters of mental health conditions develop by age 24. Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when patients begin treatment early and play a strong role in their own recovery process.

In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities also are affected.

An estimated 16 million American adults – almost 7 percent of the population – had at least one major depressive episode last year. People of all ages and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience depression, but it does affect some groups of people more than others. Women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression, and young adults ages 18 to 25 are 60 percent more likely to have depression than people 50 or older. With early detection, diagnosis and a treatment plan consisting of medication, psychotherapy and lifestyle choices, many people get better.

When left untreated, depression can be devastating, both for the people who have it and for their families.

Knowledge is the first step in recovery. For more information about mental health services, call ECMC at 898-5400.