May is Mental Health Awareness Month. A time to raise awareness of mental illness and its impact on wellbeing. It was established in 1949 as an approach to fight stigma, educate the public and provide support. Services for mental health have vastly improved over the years. However, the stigma remains strong.
Julie Clavette and Sue Hillegass, employees of Aroostook Mental Health Center, have been working on breaking the mental health stigma. “I chose to work in mental health because of its familiarity,” Clavette said. “I have grown up in a family that struggles with their own mental wellness. Myself included. I hope to contribute to making mental illness more understood and destigmatized.”
“I think that it’s a shame that there is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues,” Hillegass said. “I feel a lot more people would reach out for the support they need. But they don’t for the fear of what others will think about them.”