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Brain health is health.

Let's talk about it like we talk about health
Angela Nolz, licensed professional clinical counselor and Sanford Integrated Health therapist

Brain health is health. This concept lives in my mind, daily. I have worked as a mental health therapist for the past 15 years.
The more research emerges, the better we understand the inner workings of the brain, and yet, we have so very far to go to best understand illness and best recovery treatments. 
Some things have changed in the 15 years that I've been involved in this field, but the need for mental health services and the need to destigmatize these illnesses remains. 
Mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, professional counselors, social workers and case managers, work from research and evidence-based modalities. We are bound by stringent ethical standards.
The work can be hard but is incredibly rewarding.
Each of us in this field understands brain health is health. Mental illness is not a flaw of character. It is not a choice. It is not a sin.
According to CDC, more than 31 percent of people in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. About one out of every six adults will have depression at some time in their life. Depression affects 16 million American adults every year. These illnesses do not discriminate, impacting youth and elderly, men and women, poor and affluent and people of all races. 
This work is vast. For me and for others who do this work locally, we have chosen to keep our focus here, in the southwest region of Minnesota.
We “Love the Life” and work to ensure that all people know how important their lives are, to not give up even when things feel hopeless. Hope is at the core of this work — always. 
Luverne is currently part of a Minnesota Department of Health grant to engage in “Pathways to Care” that focuses on youth mental health and ensures no one falls through the cracks. We continue to offer classes like “Talk Saves Lives” and “More than Sad” to ensure we are having the difficult conversations that lead people to the help they need.
All local agencies are attempting to expand their workforce to improve population-to-services ratios. All local mental health providers meet monthly as part of the Luv1LuvAll Brain Health group to explore gaps in services, upstream approaches and community engagement opportunities. 
We will soon host our third annual “Out of the Darkness” suicide prevention walk from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Luverne City Park. These walks help us process grief as a community, provide hope and share a community goal of suicide prevention.
The walks are hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention all over the state of Minnesota and the nation. To register for the Sept. 16 walk in Luverne, go to
I hope that people are talking about mental health. I pray they are seeking services when needed, without shame or stigma.
We will, as a mental health community, continue this work as long as it takes to ensure help is available and that we are talking about brain health as health.

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