Letters to the Editor

Thank You ‘Old Schoolboys’

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the Charlestown Old Schoolboys Association and Gill family for awarding me the Joseph F. Gill Scholarship. It means so much in helping me work toward my degree at Colby-Sawyer College and makes me very proud to be a “Townie.”  Again, thanks so very much!

Conor Kelly

Thank You ‘Charlestown Old Schoolboys’

Dear Editor:

As I enter my junior year at St. Joseph College in Maine, I would like to thank the Charlestown Old Schoolboys Association for awarding me the Father Robert D. Smith Scholarship. To be the recipient of such generosity from those who are held in such high regard is truly special and means so much to me. Thanks again!

Patrick Kelly

May is Mental health awareness month

Dear Editor:

In America today, approximately 45-47 million, or one out of five Americans, is suffering with a mental health issue; and approximately 1 in 25 adults is currently experiencing a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Sadly, the rate of suicide is at a 30-year high. 

While more individuals are accessing care, an astounding 9 million are struggling with unmet needs.​These are our friends, colleagues, neighbors and perhaps our own family members. As CEO of the Arbour Hospital, my staff and I have the privilege of serving many members of our community who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives – mental illnesses that are often invisible to the casual observer in ways that physical illnesses are not. 

May is Mental Health Awareness month, providing an important opportunity for reflection and collective action to address barriers, including the ongoing stigma and stereotypes preventing many individuals from getting the care they need. 

A recent poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Research Now provides some noteworthy insights regarding perception and barriers. High percentages of respondents view mental health as equal in importance to physical health with illnesses like depression and anxiety cited among the top concerns, along with cancer and heart disease. The same poll identified barriers to care and different perspectives regarding value for physical and mental health where historically the latter wasn’t taken as seriously.​ 

The good news is that there is much hope – and today, positive outcomes are not only possible, they are experienced every day. Like chronic physical illness, mental illness can be diagnosed and effectively managed.  Individuals who were once in despair can regain their mental health and go on to live their best lives. This is highly rewarding and one reason I chose to work in this field.

What can we do within our communities to recognize the signs of mental health issues and assist those in need of care and treatment?

• Listen and show understanding: If you suspect a 1 one is struggling, offer to listen and encourage them to seek professional help.

•1Share the Lifeline number (800-273-TALK) – a 24/7, free and confidential support line. Military veterans may press ‘1’ for dedicated support. Suicide affects all demographics: different ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation and occupations.

•1In case of acute emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Suicide is often preventable when people at risk receive the support that they need.

• Our schools should encourage students to pursue careers in mental health fields, whether through nursing, medical or vocational programs. This is a growing field; we need the next generation of talented professionals. Arbour educational partners include Northeastern University, Roxbury Community College and Tufts School of medicine.

• Each of us can play a positive role to improve the lives of the millions of Americans suffering from mental health challenges, not just during this month, but every month in every community across the country.

Eric Kennedy, CEO

Arbour Hospital

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