Rural Mental Health Highlighted

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FALCONER, NY (WNY News Now) — A nationwide push is underway to bring light to the mental health crisis and break the stigma surrounding it, specifically in rural communities like Chautauqua County.

When one thinks of deadly illnesses, depression rarely comes to mind when in fact suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people.

“Rural Minds was founded in 2012 and it was the result of a family tragedy in my family where my nephew died of suicide so, I’m a native of Chautauqua County and I live in Mayville, we are a national organization, but this is a very important meeting to me because it’s right in my backyard and there are many friends and family members here today,” said Rural Minds Founder Jeff Winton.

Winton soon realized that a big group of people were being left out of mental health resources.

“When my nephew died, it became very apparent that a lot of the resources available are geared towards people who are in big cities and suburbs and not small towns and rural areas,” Winton said.

On Monday, the Mayville, New York partnered with Farmnet Family Consultant Teresa McMahon to host a town hall meeting at the Ross Grange in Falconer.

“We get to meet people where they are, and we need to reach more, because between five and twenty-four the second leading cause of death is suicide. That’s horrifying, and we have an epidemic with suicide,” said Farmnet Family Consultant Teresa McMahon.

There are warning signs everyone should know.

“If you could, look in for your loved ones and yourself for changes in eating, energy levels, lack of sleep, pulling away from people, hygiene can be worsened where you might not want to bathe everyday. We get more down and down. I’ve had depression, I understand it, and I was resistant when I was a teenager to reach out and that’s why I’m so glad that you can call anonymously any line. You can also text a licensed mental health therapist,” McMahon said.

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide, seek help from the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 9-8-8 or reach out to a Farmnet Family Consultant at (800) 547-3276.


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