GO GREEN: Mental Health Awareness

By Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Chelsea Bullock

Hello, I am Chelsea Bullock, Miss SC Sweet Potato Festival, and I will be vying for the Miss South Carolina in June 2016. The Miss SC Sweet Potato Festival is sponsored by the Darlington Pilot Club. I was born in Bennettsville, SC and presently a senior nursing major at University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. I have been dancing for 17 years with 2 competition teams and a student dance instructor for 3 years. I have competed in the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant where she placed in top 10 and top 15. I have also won Miss SC Junior Teen United States where she placed 2nd runner up at Nationals in Las Vegas. I have worked with several civic organizations such as Pee Dee Coalition; Relay for Life, Children’s Miracle Network and is presently promoting Mental Health Awareness.

This is a big title to attach to my name, however along with the title comes a lot of responsibility. Responsibility of being a good role model and becoming an advocate of two wonderful platform’s, one is the Miss America national and Miss South Carolina’s state platform, Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) and the second is my personal choice, “GO Green” bringing awareness to the importance of Mental Health.

Since adopting CMN platform in 2007, the Miss America Organization, through its local and state contestants, has raised over 9.5 million dollars to support these families. One very important fact to note is that every dollar that is raised for CMN in the state of South Carolina is retained in state and supports Children’s Miracle Network hospitals right here at home. If you have yet to walk the halls of one of SC’s Children’s Hospitals, please do yourself a favor and make that trip. The least we can do as able bodies is to try to relieve some of the financial burden from those that spend weeks, months, birthdays, and holidays in hospital beds.

My personal platform is entitled “GO GREEN” bringing awareness to mental health. Being an aspiring nurse and in the process of completing my BSN, I have seen many illnesses, acute and chronic, physical and mental. I have noticed that not enough value is placed upon having a sound mind, one free of addictions and excessive anxiety. However, if someone were to ask you what is one of the most important parts of your body; one could potentially answer either the heart and/or the BRAIN! My externship with the Department of Mental Health fueled this hunger to bring awareness to just how important mental health is to a society under many pressures.

Mental health issues are conditions that impact a person’s thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. Let’s look at some numbers and facts to relay just how important it is to be mentally healthy. Did you know that 1 in 5 people live with a mental health condition, 50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and that statistic jumps to 75% by age 24. Furthermore, more than half of all mental health conditions go undetected which means the individual lacks needed professional attention. I hope these numbers are as alarming to you as they are me. If you find yourself slightly surprised, you have justified the need for awareness. Lastly, mental health conditions are not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. Nor is it the scary scene of the long white halls of state institutions that Hollywood has portrayed it to be. It is a very real topic that affects people around us every day and includes alcoholism and substance abuse, depression and anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

I hope that I have enlightened you on topics that are very important and dear to me and our state. In lieu of May being Mental Health Awareness (MHM), I will be submitting an article each week to help you know more about mental health and its importance in our lives, communities and families. If you want to learn more about mental health, the effects, treatments and statistics there are several website you can visit. www.mentalhealthamerica.com, www.nami.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.samhsa.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration) www.ffcmh.org (National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health)

Author: Duane Childers

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