Don’t ignore your mental health during the holidays or ever

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Lancaster mental health flyer

LANCASTER – The holidays can be stressful.

It is so stressful that the media often focus on the holiday season as a time when suicides increase.

An article from Psychology Today reported the idea that people are more likely to commit suicide around Christmastime is false. The magazine explained suicides peak during the spring, not winter months.

The publication posited that spring is likely more common because the “rebirth of springtime accentuates feelings of hopelessness” in those suffering from mental health issues.

However, for those suffering from mental health, it does not matter what time of the year. And it certainly is a fact people do become melancholy during the holiday season, often due to family stress and other mental health issues.

The City of Lancaster cares about its residents and offers specific tools to help those who reach out for help during the holidays and anytime throughout the year.

“The City of Lancaster has a team that assesses social needs, medical needs, mental healthcare needs, victimization, and safety factors to its residents,” said Alysia Walton, Public Relations Specialist at Lancaster City Manager’s Office. “Our Lancaster Mobile Assessment Response Team (LMART) can help determine the most appropriate action, which may not always be hospital transport and emergency detentions.”

The Lancaster Mobile Assessment Response Team (LMART) presents a Mental Health Education Series that can provide mental health knowledge to the community in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. From November to March, different speakers speak and offer valuable information to residents about various topics regarding mental health.

In November, the LMART team covered Mental Health MythBusters.

On January 18, 2024, the topic Depression & Anxiety in Diverse Cultures will be presented by the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority; on February 15, 2024, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will present Building Healthy Coping Skills, and on March 21, 2024, the presentation will be Parenting a Child Through Behavioral Health Concerns presented by Haven Behavioral Health.

Walton explained that the purpose of these conversations is to educate the community with essential mental health information and provide them access to local mental health resources.

“The City of Lancaster takes mental health very seriously, and we encourage our residents to get mental health checkups periodically; it’s just as important as having a physical checkup,” said Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones. “We have a free resource right here in our community that can give mental health checkups and direct those who are dealing with issues concerning their mental health to receive the help they need.”

Often, law enforcement officers see their share of mental health issues on service calls, and Lancaster Police Chief Sam Urbanski said, “Officers responding to these calls must be prepared for anything. When our dispatch receives a mental health call, they determine the appropriate action, which most of the time would be our LMART team rather than an officer.”

For more information regarding the city’s mental health series, the presentations will occur at the Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library, 1600 Veterans Memorial Parkway, from 5 to 6 p.m.

The Lancaster Mobile Assessment Response Team is also located in the Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library and are available Monday through Friday from 2 to 10 p.m.

For questions on the mental health series or the LMART team, call 469-578-4786.

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