ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Since mental health is essential to your overall wellbeing, the Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley (SPCRV) and Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare (BRBH) teamed up to plan activities in May that will help promote Mental Health Awareness Month.

(Photo courtesy: Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley and Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare)

“One in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime and everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health,” the two organizations said in a joint statement earlier this month. “May is Mental Health Month. Let’s make it ok to talk about mental health!”

Officials say that mental health conditions are real and prevalent, but with effective help and support, individuals can recover and lead full, productive lives.

The SPCRV and BRBH urge community members to take a “checkup from the neck up” by completing a free, anonymous, and scientifically validated mental health screening through Mental Health America. Not only do these screenings increase the chances of getting treatment, but the Mental Health America website also includes available resources and connections to treatment options.

Once you verify you have completed a screening, officials say your name will go into a drawing for a prize through the SPCRV.

The SPCRV and the BRBH also have several training opportunities available over the course of the month:

  • “Talk Saves Lives”: This introduction to suicide prevention will be held over Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11.
  • “SafeTALK”: This event teaches participants to be suicide alert and will be held in-person from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24 at the Blue Ridge Library.

You can register for either training event by following this link. There will also be information and resources shared throughout the month on SCPRV Facebook and Instagram pages.

“Just as we may need help with a physical ailment sometimes, there may be times in our life where it can be helpful to seek treatment for mental health or substance use difficulties. It is in our human nature to struggle from time to time with feelings of depression, anxiety, or other difficult emotions,” said Debbie Coughlan, CEO of Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare. “When these feelings become long-lasting or start to cause difficulty in our day-to-day life, in our work or school functioning, or our relationships with loved ones and friends, it may be a good time to take advantage of the free screening mentioned above or to seek help. If mental health issues are troubling you, please do not suffer in silence. Prevention works and treatment is effective. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please do not hesitate to reach out to our 24-hour Crisis Services at 540-981-9351 or call 911. ”