Chef Ellen


Taking the opportunity to understand and support those affected by mental health issues is why the month of May is devoted to this critical topic. Annually, heightened awareness develops from the urgency to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health conditions.

Recently, there has been an extensive boost in public awareness, highlighting resources, services, and support, but increased recognition and empathy are needed.
I came across the following article in the Daily News from a local advocate and found the statistics of this dilemma in NYC quite staggering. I applaud the authors of this piece for advocating for reform and change as they are co-founders of an addiction and mental health facility in NJ. They aspire for a dedicated community based understanding when confronting the perils of our growing mental health crisis.
Mental health is certainly not my specialty, and I am stepping out of my comfort zone and area of expertise by broaching the subject. As eloquently as possible, I will highlight the importance and respect this topic deserves.

I believe I can safely say we probably know individuals affected by mental health issues, addiction, and the heartache of mismanagement, stigmas, and lack of education about these diseases. Perhaps we are affected first-hand or indirectly. Either way, the goal surrounding the dedication to raising more awareness is to promote the growing number of available resources, services, and support networks. Open conversations and education on mental health also aid in support and a clearer understanding of symptoms and treatment options.

Mental health receives so much attention in the media, and we can easily read an article or watch the crisis unfold in the news. However, getting involved can mean taking a moment to recognize the impact advocacy can make. Proactive steps to support optimal mental health in ourselves and others effectively address action versus neglect and an uncaring attitude. Outside assistance and everyday advancements play a significant role in social change and championing improvements in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please recognize those change-makers dedicated to moving mountains and outstanding advancements in mental health reform.

“Only through a concerted, dedicated effort can we hope to change the narrative from one of neglect to one of recovery and resilience.”
Scaduto and Cellary are co-founders of Valley Spring Recovery Center, an addiction treatment and mental health facility in Norwood, N.J.