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Join Help & Hope panel to discuss the Mysteries of Mental Illness

The spotlight on mental illness that grew brighter during the recent pandemic will become even more intense when PBS airs a special four-hour multi-part documentary on the subject next week. The public broadcasting station has put together a series of shows on the complex topic including: Evil or Illness?; The Rise and Fall of the Asylum; Chasing Normal; and New Frontiers.

At PBS' invitation, Help & Hope Southcoast will offer the region a sneak peek at the content during a special panel event on June 16. The event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday will take a look at three of the individuals spotlighted in the series, each of whom is experiencing some form of mental illness and who speaks openly about their experiences and how they've impacted their lives.

The show also takes a broader view on mental health, tackling big questions about what mental illness is and where it comes from. Is it, for example, the result of individuals who have been damaged, either in their physical brain, or psychologically through trauma? Or something broader and more complicated than that?

There was a time, fairly recently, when it was thought that people with mental illness were the ones who were put in hospitals and treatment centers. Today, we understand that mental health is more complex than simply the identification of specific disorders.

In fact, one of the most fascinating questions that PBS explores through this documentary is what exactly is normal mental health? Is there such a thing as normal in this context? And, why might we want to challenge the notion of who and what is “normal”?

Help & Hope Southcoast will address some of these questions through a panel of local professionals who will discuss mental health topics after each clip including offering tips for supporting mental health and for talking about mental illness with loved ones.

Here are our event panelists:

Darcy Lee, Executive Director, Samaritans Southcoast

Lex Andrade, Peer Specialist, Child & Family Services

Crystin Roufaeil, MA Clinician, High Point Treatment Center

Pam Balorinho, Director of Emergency Services, Child & Family Services

We live in a world where we can no longer pretend that mental illness only affects a few people who are kept separate from the rest of society. The truth is that each of us will wrestle with mental health challenges at some time in our lives in the same way we each get physically sick - catch colds or have allergies, for example.

It's time to take the conversation around mental health to the next level. Come help Help & Hope make that happen. Register for the free event here.

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