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Embracing Mental Health: Support and Care During Mental Health Awareness Month

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Embracing Mental Health: Support and Care During Mental Health Awareness Month

Understanding Mental Health: A Vital Aspect of Overall Well-being

Mental health is as crucial as physical health. At Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, we are dedicated to promoting mental wellness and supporting those who struggle with mental health issues. Mental Health Awareness Month provides an opportunity to emphasize the importance of mental health and to encourage open conversations about it.

The Importance of Mental Health

Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, influencing every aspect of our daily lives. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, making it integral to our overall well-being. Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood, highlighting the need for continuous attention and care.

Recognizing the Signs of Mental Health Issues

Understanding the signs of mental health issues is the first step toward getting help. Common signs include persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness, excessive fears or worries, and extreme mood changes. Additionally, withdrawal from friends and activities, significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions can also indicate mental health issues. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help to address these concerns early.

Tips for Maintaining Mental Health

  1. Stay Connected: Keep in touch with friends and family. Social connections can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, which are vital for mental well-being. Regular communication with loved ones can help you feel more connected and less isolated.

  2. Stay Active: Physical activity can reduce stress and improve mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days to reap the benefits. Activities like walking, jogging, yoga, or even dancing can boost your energy and enhance your mental health.

  3. Eat Well: A balanced diet can affect how you feel. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which provide essential nutrients that support brain function. Limiting processed foods and sugars can also help maintain stable energy levels and mood.

  4. Get Enough Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial for mental health. Aim for 7-9 hours per night to help your body and mind recover. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a restful environment can improve your sleep quality.

  5. Practice Mindfulness: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress. These practices encourage relaxation and can improve focus and emotional regulation. Regular mindfulness practice can contribute to long-term mental resilience.

  6. Seek Help When Needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help if you are struggling. Talking to a mental health professional can provide valuable insights and coping strategies. Seeking help is a sign of strength and an important step toward recovery.

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center's Mental Health Services

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is committed to providing comprehensive mental health services through our specialized Adult and Children’s units. Our team of experienced providers offers a range of treatments and support tailored to meet individual needs.

Adult Mental Health Services

Our Adult Mental Health Unit is a 28-bed inpatient setting designed to help treat adults aged 18 and older during their mental health crises. We offer individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, crisis intervention, and support groups. Our focus is on providing personalized care to help adults manage and overcome various mental health challenges, ensuring they receive the support they need to recover and thrive.

Ellen Pluta, Director of Adult Mental Health Unit

"Providing care to our patients takes dedication and commitment. I’m extremely fortunate to work with such compassionate and exceptional coworkers every day. Claxton-Hepburn appreciates the value of mental health treatment and is committed to providing this essential care that is so desperately needed," says Ellen Pluta, Director of the Adult Mental Health Unit. "Each member of our team provides a unique piece to our puzzle, and we wouldn’t be who we are without them. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I encourage you to be mindful in your day-to-day living; prioritize your health and wellness, and be thankful for your support team, whoever they may be. Self-care is always a requirement, not a recommendation."


Children's and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit

The Elizabeth May Duvall Children & Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Claxton-Hepburn is a secure, inpatient acute psychiatric unit licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health. This 12-bed unit serves patients aged 5-17 years old who are experiencing crises serious enough to affect their safety or the safety of others. We treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, including but not limited to Major Depression, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Schizophrenia.

Sarah Gordinier Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

"Elizabeth May Duvall Children’s Mental Health Unit is committed to providing a safe environment for children to begin their recovery journey through a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach. Our program focuses on patient and family-centered care while utilizing evidence-based Trauma Informed Care," says Sarah Gordinier, Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. "Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to promoting wellness and recovery for the children and families in our local communities. All members of the Children’s Mental Health Unit bring a strong sense of teamwork and dedication to our patients on a daily basis. The Elizabeth May Duvall Children’s Unit is proud to be able to expand their services in the near future to even better serve our community. During Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to recognize that children are our future. It is important to remember that a child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health."

CHMC to Expand Mental Health Services

In keeping with our commitment to enhancing mental health across the North Country, we are excited to announce that we have recently received a $5 million grant from the Office of Mental Health to expand our Children & Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit, adding 10 more beds. This expansion will allow us to better serve our community and provide much-needed support to more children and adolescents in crisis. Claxton-Hepburn also received an additional $5.8 million grant from the Office of Mental Health to build a Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). Combined, these efforts will significantly enhance our capacity to provide essential mental health services and support to our community.


How You Can Help

Mental health awareness is not just for those who are struggling. Everyone can play a role in promoting mental health by educating yourself and others about mental health challenges and their impact. Listening without judgment and encouraging open conversations about mental health can create a supportive environment. Additionally, supporting those who seek help shows compassion and helps reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.

You can also advocate for mental health resources in your community, ensuring that those in need have access to the care they deserve. Volunteering your time or donating to mental health organizations can make a significant difference. Remember, small acts of kindness and understanding can have a profound impact on someone's mental health journey.

Comprehensive Support for Your Mental Health Needs

Mental Health Awareness Month is a reminder that mental health is an essential part of our overall health. At Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, we are here to support you with a range of services and resources. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and taking care of your mental health is a sign of strength. By fostering a community of understanding and support, we can all contribute to better mental health for everyone. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit our website or contact our mental health services department at 315.713.5212.


Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is dedicated to your mental and physical well-being. Together, we can break the stigma around mental health and create a supportive community for all.