By Bryan Boggiano
The Coral Springs city commission proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month at their May 4 meeting, recognizing the reality that millions of Americans face and working to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Mayor Scott Brook said that since mental health is a passion for him, he asked the commission to issue the proclamation.
“Silence can be a killer, and you also know that we need to eliminate the stigma,” he said.
For Mental Health Awareness Month, Mayor Brook encouraged everybody to reach out to friends and family, talk to people who might have a mental illness, and be a source of positivity to others.
Members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Broward County, including Executive Director Sandra Cumper Boynton, stood with the commission as they issued the proclamation.
According to a city document, the organization works to educate, advocate, listen, and lead and improve the lives of people with illness and their loved ones.
According to Cumper Boynton, about 20 percent of all people are diagnosed with or could be diagnosed with mental illness.
She noted that mental illness affects people’s friends and loved ones and encouraged people who might have a mental illness to seek help.
“Recovery is possible; there’s treatment for mental illness,” she said. “We can no longer live under the stigma associated with mental illness that prohibits us from seeking the services and the care that we need.”
The commission also proclaimed May 10 as First Responders Mental Health Awareness Day, which the state first recognized in 2021. According to a city document, first responders are at a higher risk of mental illness due to their professions.
The proclamation stated that due to COVID-19, the demand placed on the police, firefighters, paramedics, dispatch and communications staff, and others increased their risk of mental health issues.
Fire Chief Michael McNally said that when he and other first responders began their careers, they often did not consider their mental health. He applauded the city’s efforts to address employees’ mental health during his remarks, including establishing the behavioral health access program.
Chris Bator, division chief of safety and health, echoed McNally’s sentiments, saying that it is essential for first responders to take care of their own, too.
“We always know the ones we lost,” he said, “We just don’t always know the ones that we saved.”
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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