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Working through mental illness can be done
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Saturday is an especially happy day for residents in recovery.

That’s when they celebrate going through treatment for mental health and substance use issues at the annual “Recovery Happens” public event Saturday in Auburn.

They should be proud of seeking help.

One of every four Americans suffers from mental illness and one in seven Americans goes through substance use issues.

But many don’t seek professional help because they still think it’s a stigma.

They suffer silently, instead of getting treatment, according to the Placer County Health and Human Services Department.

Having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about, although those suffering often feel alone. However, that is not the case.

After all, the one in four and one in seven numbers indicate a significant part of the population is personally affected. And those numbers don’t include the families and friends who also deal with the issues.

Mental illnesses should be checked by the appropriate licensed clinical therapist just as our physical illnesses should be checked by our physicians, according to Placer County Adult System of Care director Amy Ellis.

“Would you not treat your diabetes or if you break your arm, get a cast?” Ellis asked rhetorically.

Most mental health conditions positively respond to treatment and can lead to better outcomes and an overall better quality of life.

“There is effective treatment that can lead to a healthier life,” Ellis said. “These issues are just as treatable as physical illnesses.”

Depending on the type of illness, treatment could include seeing your general doctor, a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist and/or attending support groups.

If you’re looking for help on where to start, contact your own doctor or call the county’s 24/7 mental health/substance abuse resource line at 916-787-8860. The county’s children’s resource line is 866-293-1940.

Everyone struggles at times with depression or anxiety, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Department. Professional help is needed when two parts of a person's life (work, school, family relationships and friends) are affected for two or more weeks or that person has significantly lost interest in something once enjoyed.

We should be encouraging of those residents seeking help.

Saturday’s family-friendly “Recovery Happens” event, which includes a free barbecue, is not just for the residents in treatment. It’s for all residents to support them for seeking help in potential debilitating mental-health and substance-abuse issues.

And it’s to see that recovery can happen and that individuals facing this disease are just like everyone else.

 Community members can also help by volunteering or donating to any of several nonprofit organizations dedicated to mental health and substance abuse issues. Many of those organizations will be at Saturday’s Recovery Happens event, which is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive, Auburn.

Or call the county at 530-889-7235 for information about volunteering or serving on the county’s Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory board, which participates in planning and making recommendations about services.  

Treatment does work. Let’s support those who are working on their issues.