On Thursday, May 4, at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board will proclaim May 2023 as “Mental Health Awareness Month” and plans to use the month as a time to highlight the vast challenges, changes and successes in recent years in Guilford County in its battle against mental health problems.

A resolution that will be passed by the board at the meeting states that sometimes people experience “a significant disturbance” in mental functioning, which can indicate an underlying mental health disorder – and it’s important that these disturbances be addressed.

They can cause a person an inability to function and can also lead to tragic events – the kind one often sees in the news almost every day recently.

Over the lasts four years, Guilford County has drastically changed the model it uses to provide mental health services and that effort is still a work in progress.

The problem of mental illness is huge, though it often goes unnoticed.

According to stats release by Guilford County government, one in five adults and one in five adolescents in the US lives with a mental illness that hampers that  person’s “emotional, social, environmental, financial and overall well-being, with significant disparities among racially and ethnically diverse communities.”

Here’s another stat to think about this month: Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds – with teenagers experiencing a 17 percent increase in the use of anxiety medications since 2010.

In its first year of operation, the new Guilford County Behavioral Health Center served more than 140 youngsters, ranging in age from 6 to 15 – and there were more than 9,000 visits to the Behavioral Health Urgent Care.

In addition, there were 12,000 visits to the adult Behavioral Health Outpatient clinic.

County leaders hope that this new model of “no wrong door” mental health treatment will make Guilford County a leader in offering creative ways to fight against mental illness.