San Jacinto Council declares Mental Health Awareness Week

San Jacinto City Council members, from left to right, Mayor Pro Tem Alonso Ledezma, Mayor Scott Miller and Russ Utz present Executive Director Brenda Scott of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of San Jacinto with a proclamation declaring Mental Health Awareness Week in the city. Tony Ault photo

With two councilmembers absent, the San Jacinto City Council, following a presentation by a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrapped up the short 30-minute meeting Tuesday, Oct. 3, by extending time for several developers to submit their tract maps and declaring Mental Health Awareness Week in the city.

Brenda Scott, executive director of NAMI San Jacinto and the NAMI Walk manager of the Inland Empire, appeared before the council to present the need for better mental health opportunities for needy residents in the Valley.

Council members Mayor Scott Miller, Mayor Pro Tem Alonso Ledezma and Russ Utz listened to Scott explain how mental illness affects many people in the Valley and how the local organization is helping to change perceptions about mental illness.

She said out that one in five adults experience a mental health condition every year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to people who directly experience a mental illness, their family, friends and communities are also affected.

Half of the mental health conditions people face begin by age 14, and 75 percent of those conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.

Scott urged members of the council and community members to take part in the upcoming NAMI Walk Saturday, Oct. 28, at Diamond Valley Lake Marina, 2615 Angler Avenue, in Hemet. The pre-walk program begins 10 a.m., and the walk begins 10:30 a.m. To register and donate, call (951) 765-1850, visit www.namiwalks.org/inlandempire or email [email protected].

Scott said mental illness that one family member suffers affects the entire family, and they often need help understanding the illness. NAMI Mt. San Jacinto offers family support groups 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. every second Thursday at Anka Behavioral Health at 102 S. Main St. in San Jacinto. The NAMI helpline is (800) 273-8255.

Councilmembers Andrew Kotyuk and Crystal Ruiz were out of town on city business.

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