mental health mgn

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - The month of May is mental health awareness month and it's a topic that is becoming more and more talked about as the pandemic has brought new challenges for people across the nation. 

The Center for Mental Health says the Treasure State is known to be pretty tough and there is a stigma of cowboys and an attitude of 'we can do it ourselves.'

However, they say it could lead you to not getting the help you need when it comes to your mental health. 

"I think the biggest advice is that it's okay to tell someone. It's not something that you should think 'Oh I'm not enough of a man if I don't get help, or I'm not enough of a mother, or I'm a teenager and I don't want to confess the struggles I'm having to my teacher, mom dad," said service line director for residential services at Center for Mental Health, Shawn Winters. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, more than 50 percent of adults and teens don't seek help for depression or other mental health issues. 

The pandemic has forced everyone to change their lifestyle and has left many people feeling anxious and depressed. 

"Seeking out help while being isolated is very difficult," said Winters. 

With Montana being such a rural state, he said one thing can help. 

"Technology has really helped with doing remote connection or online doing counseling and talking to someone that way because you're not going to come in," said Winters. 

The Center for Mental Health helps over 2,400 people in Cascade County alone.

But many people are still fearful to get help because of many reasons, including how people might think of them, thinking they don't need help, and even feeling hopeless. 

"Seek help as a support, don't let fear get in the way of getting treatment... if they have self-doubt or shame about what they're going through... there is help out there. I think that is the biggest thing is that people don't understand is there is help and that treatment is successful," said Winters. 

He says having mental challenges is no different than having physical challenges. 

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed - a good place to start is to call your local health care provider or reach out to a friend or family member. 

For more information on services, the Center for Mental Health offers, click here.

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