Avondale Library Kicks off Mental Health Awareness Series on May 31

 By Joan Inman|Avondale Regional Branch Library

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In recognition, Avondale Library is hosting a series of  interviews with local mental health professionals that will go into the first week of June.

Mental health is extremely important, especially now in our new normal. Since March of last year, the world has been hit with a global pandemic that has impacted every facet of our daily lives and has brought about new challenges and feelings of uncertainty for everyone. 

From dealing with financial stress, to parents needing to balance work and care for children at home, to mandatory self-quarantining measures, it can often feel overwhelming. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many American's mental health. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org): “Prior to the pandemic, one in five adults in America experienced mental health challenges at any given time. However, recent surveys show a drastic increase in the number of U.S. adults who report symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression during the pandemic.” 

Because mental health is important every day, Avondale’s Interview Series will highlight three non-profits that are offering different mental health services to the greater Birmingham area. All three programs can be viewed starting next week (May 31) on the Avondale  Library Facebook page. 

Monday, May 31 @ 10 am: Kierston Withrow, Crisis Center, Inc. 

The mission of the Crisis Center is to serve the unmet needs of  people experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues and respond with services that promote coping, emotional health and well-being. The center's main service area is Central Alabama, the six counties surrounding Birmingham: Jefferson, Blount, Chilton, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties.     

Wednesday, June 2 @ 10 am: Armeshia Johnson, A Friend in Mind 
Some staggering stats from A Friend of Mind's website: 

* 2.8 million people between the ages of 12 and 17 have at least one major depressive episode. 
 * Between 2 and 15% of people who have major depression die by suicide. 

Friday, June 4 @ 10 am: Celia Hodnett, Thrive Counseling and Psychiatry

With offices in Birmingham, Hoover and Trussville, Thrive Counseling and Psychiatry specializes in helping people dealing with trauma, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder and substance abuse.