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Bridgeways helps Lake Stevens Rotary understand mental health issues


September 24, 2013

As a prelude to Mental Health Awareness week in October, last week’s program at the Rotary Club of Lake Stevens featured Vicki Hoffman, Director of Employment Services for Bridgeways - a non-profit agency serving Snohomish County residents who have mental health challenges.

Hoffman is a seasoned professional where she works to help people living with mental illness find, secure and keep a job. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in nursing and has volunteered with the local Red Cross during both local and national disasters.

Bridgeways is a licensed community mental health agency dealing with community mental health services. Mental Health Awareness week is October 6-12.

During the week, mental health advocates and organizations across the country join together to sponsor a variety of events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illness such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in four adults—suffer from diagnosable mental illness in any given year.

The exact cause of mental health issues is still unknown. Mental health experts do know that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of genetic biological and triggered by psychological trauma or environmental stressors.

Serious mental illness issues range from those mentioned above and include obsessive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Most individuals diagnosed with mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan. Common treatment and services may include medications, case management, supported employment hospitalization and supported housing.


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