We live in a stressful world. A certain amount of stress can be a good thing; the human race is alive today in part for our ability to respond to stressors. Our nervous system puts us on alert, cortisol is released, hearts beat faster, and rapid breathing sends oxygenated blood to our large muscles. We respond to danger.
But, too much of a good thing can be harmful. High levels of cortisol suppresses serotonin in our brain which can lead to depression. Symptoms include feelings of guilt, worthlessness, pessimism, hopelessness, irritability and restlessness. We lose our interest in pleasurable activities. If symptoms worsen, we have suicidal thoughts...even actions. According to the CDC, adolescent suicide rates have been climbing since 2007; doubling for girls and increasing 30% for boys ages 15-19.
People with mental health conditions are akin to canaries in a coalmine when it comes to stressful triggers. Just like those with allergies are more sensitive to pollen, and diabetics are more sensitive to sugar, some people have a heightened sensitivity to stress. One in five Americans experience mental illness in any given year.
When we send out children to school, we want them to feel safe. Next month, Winnetka, Illinois will mark a tragic anniversary. Thirty years ago, a babysitter entered Hubbard Woods Elementary and a family home with semi-automatic weapons and took innocent lives. The Josselyn Center responded to that trauma and grief. Imagine what those school children must have experienced, and what our children must be feeling as we approach that anniversary.
High levels of stress and fear in our nation surely have contributed to the increase in demand for mental health services. The Josselyn Center has provided a 50% increase in services this past year. We are only able to provide high quality care at reduced fees because of your support. Help us be there. Thank you!
The Josselyn Center...At The Center of Mental Health and Hope