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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

By Marion M. Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

walkers-4-crop 2021Littman Krooks is a long-time sponsor of NAMIWalks and has participated for the past five years, in torrential rain, in sunshine, and virtually in 2020. Our “Team LK Marion’s Marchers” will be taking part in the 2021 NAMIWalks Your Way: A United Day of Hope, on May 22, 2021 for NAMI Westchester. The walk is virtual this year which offers the chance to individualize your experience. You can participate in the celebration on May 22 at the link above. The virtual presentation begins at 9:00AM with virtual early morning yoga, a streaming program at 9:30AM and then all will head out to engage in our own activities.

During this stressful year with uncertainty during the pandemic, we have been susceptible to mental health challenges.  Over 3 million people worldwide have died of COVID-19 (almost 600,000 in the US) and the sadness and loss affects everyone.  Many are grieving the loss of loved ones. In March 2020, we had to adjust to a new virtual reality and perform our jobs and/or parenting in a new way, at home. We have been isolated and remote yet expected to do the same tasks. Now, as more become vaccinated, there is hope for the future, but adjusting to a world opening up brings its own stress and adjustments. For children, teens and young adults, the effects of these challenges are even greater. Those with disabilities, previously diagnosed mental health conditions and those who are elderly have found the times even more challenging.

We Support NAMIWalks  

At Littman Krooks, we view mental health advocacy as an important social justice initiative.  Our attorneys and staff work hard each day to help vulnerable clients navigate a broken system. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.  There is no other organization that brings the support and education to end the stigma and save lives.   NAMIWalks promotes awareness of mental health, raises funds for NAMI’s free programs, and builds community by letting people know they are not alone. Through NAMIWalks’ public, active display of support for people affected by mental illness, NAMI changes how Americans view individuals with a mental illness and ensuring that help and hope are available for those in need.

Our society has a public health crisis in mental health and we need this work and awareness. For some time now, based on CDC statistics, suicide has been the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 to 34. Suicide rates increased 33% between 1999 and 2019. The pandemic has only increased struggles. By every measure, diagnoses of anxiety and depression have increased.

I am honored to be the team leader for Littman Krooks.  I have served on the NAMI Westchester Board for three years and have volunteered for five years as a presenter on “Ending the Silence,” to educate students, staff and families on suicide prevention. I also volunteer as a parent group facilitator. Currently, I am completing training on NAMI Homefront to assist families of veterans or those serving the U.S. in active military duty.  With the support of NAMI, I am renewing my certification in Mental Heath First Aid this Spring.  For the walk this year, I will be walking with my dogs Sirius and Baldor who have been steadfast companions on hundreds of pandemic hikes I have taken this year in the beautiful Hudson Valley.

We invite everyone to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month and Mental Health for All, to celebrate light, hope, love, family and a path forward.  We invite all to join our team, if so interested: https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=41619.

 

 

 


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