I’m one of the 14.8 million adults in America who suffer from depression. Clearly I’m not embarrassed to share this fact. I mean, it’s not like I pull the wings off flies or pilfer my son’s college savings to pay for Botox. That’s stuff to be embarrassed about. But when it comes to depression, anxiety, and all of those pesky mental health issues most folks would prefer to sweep under the rug, I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t share my experience and advocate for more and better mental health services in our community.

According to the Mental Health America Parity or Disparity 2015 Report, among adults in America, 42.5 million suffer from some kind of mental illness, 19.7 million have a substance abuse problem, and 8.8 million report serious thoughts of suicide. Among children/youth, 6.2 million suffer from an emotional, behavioral, or developmental issue, 1.6 million have a substance abuse problem, 2.1 million report having at least one major depressive episode in the last year, and 8.01% report having attempted suicide once in the last year. In addition, twice as many females (10.5%) attempted suicide as males (5.4%).

Those are some scary stats. You know what else is scary? When someone suffers a mental health crisis in Fauquier County, their family has to travel tremendous distances to get them care. Why? Because we don’t have a single inpatient facility anywhere nearby. Can you imagine having a car accident, a heart attack, or breaking your leg and having to drive to Prince William or Winchester to get treated? That would be ridiculous, and we’d all be up in arms about it. But a mental health facility? Shhhhh. We don’t talk about that stuff, and we certainly don’t want a place like that in our backyard!

Maybe I’m alone out here, but I for one think we have to talk about “that stuff,” and we should be proud to have an inpatient mental health hospital in our backyard.

If you feel similarly, please join me, along with the Mental Health Association of Fauquier County, and Fauquier Citizens for Mental Health Access in signing this petition.

Thank you.

mental health