Educating the Public about Mental Health

Mental health issues have long been misunderstood by the general public.  Unless you have a friend or relative with a mental health or substance abuse issue, you probably have no way to understand what the experience is like.

Many people believe that those suffering from mental illness are usually violent.  This is certainly not true.  In fact, a person with mental illness is much more likely to be the victim of violence than a perpetrator. There are many types of mental illness or disorders, and they are common. They include depression, anxiety, impulse control, personality disorders, adjustment disorders and psychotic disorders.

Someone suffering from a mental illness cannot just “snap out of it”.  If you have a blockage in an artery, you can’t just will it away; qualified help is needed.  In this regard, mental illness is the same.  Professional help might include being treated by a clinician and/or psychiatrist.  Peer support can also be extremely helpful.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis that has recently become more understood by the public.  This usually happens following a tragic event or series of events.  And war veterans are not the only ones that suffer from this disorder. Anyone who experiences a traumatic event can be at risk.  Seeking help for someone suffering from PTSD should be encouraged.

To further understand mental health issues, you may want to read more about mental health statistics or mental health myths and facts, provided by the Mental Health Association of Rockland County.

Would you like to know how people with mental illness can lead fully satisfying lives and not be defined by their illness? If so, consider registering for a free, one-hour tour of MHA Rockland’s mission.

Mental Health: When Do You Need Help?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know just when to seek help with a mental health issue.  If you’re sad, is it depression or just a bad day?  If you keep going back to check if you locked the door, is it OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or are you just forgetful?  Can you go from being happy one minute and then sad the next?  Do you have a bipolar disorder or just a mood swing?  Knowing when you need help can be confusing.

Depression is a condition that causes sadness for more than two consecutive weeks and disrupts your daily life.  If you find it hard to be motivated to get out of bed; if you cry all the time; if you just don’t care about anything, you may be suffering from depression. However, only a doctor can diagnose this illness and get you started on a treatment plan to get you back to enjoying life.

OCD is an illness where you cannot help but repeat a behavior over and over again. A doctor can diagnose and prescribe a treatment program to help manage the disorder. In fact, any time you have a behavior that is consuming your life so you can’t function normally, you should seek the help of a professional in the mental health field.

It is not considered a weakness to suffer from these disorders. And you are not alone. If you are unsure where to start, the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Rockland County can assist in connecting you to the right resource.

At MHA Rockland, we help people living with mental illness and/or addiction to embrace life and redefine themselves.  We also welcome and support families, friends, employers, and colleagues who care about those struggling with these issues. Since opening our doors in 1951, we have touched the lives of more than 50,000 Rockland County residents.

Please visit There are resources available to help you reframe your illness and define yourself not by your challenges, but by your strengths and passions.


Parent-Teen Support Group at MHA Rockland

Between trying to meet academic and extracurricular demands, and maintaining an active social life, each day brings many challenges and pressures to a teenager’s life. However, for adolescents with mental illnesses, these challenges are just the beginning of the struggles they face every day. Being a teen is difficult enough, but at MHA Rockland, we know that the combination of mental illness and teenage angst can feel quite overwhelming. As a parent, watching your child struggle is difficult and painful, which can leave you emotionally drained and exhausted.

The staff at MHA Rockland knows how tough these times can be for teenagers suffering from mental illness, as well as their family members, which is why we created the Parent-Teen Support Group. The concept behind the program is to give parents of teens in similar situations the opportunity to sit down and discuss the challenges and concerns they face as caregivers of adolescents with mental illness. Facilitators, all of whom have personal experience raising children with mental illness, lead each session. They step in to provide advice and support when appropriate, but let the parents interact and learn from one another as well.

Meanwhile, as parents sit and talk, their teens do the same. Adolescents also have the opportunity to vent their fears and frustrations, solicit advice, and share triumphs in their group therapy sessions with others their age who face the same difficulties. Both group sessions are low-key and informal, providing safe, supportive, and reassuring environments. Attendees of both sessions can enjoy refreshments and good company; adolescents can look forward to fun-filled activities, such as games, movies, special social events, and much more.

The Parent-Teen Support Group is a great way for parents and teens in Rockland County to work through unique challenges in a safe and supportive environment. We look forward to welcoming you to our circle.

MHA Rockland Launches New Website

The Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Inc. (MHA Rockland) is pleased to announce the launch of a new brand identity and web presence at

With an emphasis on wellness and personal growth, the new identity is an evolution of the agency’s previous logo, with softer edges and a more dynamic look and feel.

The most dramatic update to the overall brand is its new website, which brings its mission – “Connecting People. Educating Families. Rebuilding Lives.” – to the forefront.

For the diverse clientele that MHA Rockland has the privilege of serving each day, the new site automatically adapts to all desktop, tablet and mobile devices and features a translation tool that offers over 75 different languages. A wealth of mental health information and resources can be accessed quickly. And a dynamic calendar enables both staff and clients to view program and special events information. Donations and membership are also handled easily on the new site, which is secured specifically for these types of online contributions. Information can be requested by submitting information into a form on several pages throughout the site. All of this and more creates a seamless user experience, which is representative of the experience that clients have in working in person with MHA Rockland staff.

The agency worked with Liqui-Site Designs, a brand activation firm headquartered in Nyack, NY.

President/CEO, Stephanie Madison said, “We are so excited to take our business to the next level, as it directly reflects our commitment to provide outstanding services to community members. Our organization has grown tremendously over the last few years, and our new website reflects that. Providing easy access, both in person and on the web, to those individuals and family members who need us is a top priority. We are confident that Liqui-Site has achieved that for us”.

We look forward to hearing your feedback as we evolve to meet the needs of our clients and community, both online and in person.

2013 Annual Gala

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is proud to announce the 2013 Gala – “Celebrating Our Success” of outstanding service provision to the Rockland community. The employees of MHA Rockland would like to express their sincerest gratitude to those who have assisted in improving lives and raising awareness of mental wellness. We invite you to join us on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at the Paramount Country Club in New City, NY.

This year we are proud to announce that the recipients of The Joseph R. Bernstein Award are Senator David Carlucci, Leslie Goldress and Maria Vega-Cabrera. The Partnership Award will be presented to The Center for Safety & Change (formally Rockland Family Shelter).

This event is generously support by Tappan Taxi and begins with a cocktail hour at 6:00 pm, followed by live music, dinner and dancing. Musical entertainment provided by the “A” Band.