May is Observed as National Mental Health Month

Good afternoon Commissioners, County Manager Steen, Madame Clerk Draughn, Attorney Simpson

May is Observed as National Mental Health Month.

Burke County is known regionally, state-wide, and nationally for best in care, and among the most concentrated locales of professionals dedicated to hospitalized mental health treatment.

However, for our citizen residents who daily go about seeking work, while dealing with depression or grief, who struggle with balancing work and family, or are dealing with the “accepted’ stresses of daily living, — mental health preventative therapeutic counseling is not always accessible as one would think.

Increasingly,  we hear and see reports of persons of all ages — children, adolescents, adults, and even seniors — withdrawing into themselves; suffering discouragement, depression, and loss of hope.   Even more so are the horrific instances in the news and TV of persons lashing out with destructive behaviors, all too often threatening, or killing themselves, harming or killing others.  A recent report indicates there were more than 1300 suicides in North Carolina last year.  Burke County was unfortunately among the top incident counties.

Today the safety net of government mental health services is being stretched to breaking, and significantly challenged with cuts in program, access, and budgetary funding.

Never before has the need for mental health services been more in the forefront.  Being proactive, and providing for mental health counseling requires the awareness of both the public, and support by citizens, businesses, churches, schools and institutions to help erase the stigma of mental illness that prevents one in four persons from seeking help.

Twelve years ago in 2004, Mimosa Christian Counseling Center was founded for all of Burke citizens, as a “community of faith” supported mission outreach.  MCCC opened its doors as a refuge for those suffering mental anguish.  Over 2300 individuals and families have been aided by the certified counselors of MCCC.  Today, over 30% of those being assisted by MCCC are unable to access traditional counseling. This may be due to lack of insurance, or personal financial inability to afford care.  Many are now the working poor, earning too much for Medicaid, or insured with deductibles so high as to be basically uninsured.  These persons need on-going therapy beyond a visit or two available from other sources, charities, or perhaps their own church’s resources.  As a community based non-profit, MCCC remains a unique provider to those in need, but requires the prayers, and support of the public, businesses, and area churches. Private donations now more than ever are needed to continue the MCCC mission of restoring hope for individuals, children and families without regard to religious affiliation or their ability to pay.

Chairman Abele, Commissioners,— this month, Mimosa Christian Counseling Center joins with mental health professionals throughout our state and country to bring attention to the seriousness and scope of mental health issues around us.

We ask that you as elected leaders of our county join with us in our resolve to promote awareness for  good mental health for all citizens, and to provide access to therapeutic counseling for those in need