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Travelers Tower to be lit green Wednesday night for Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month runs the entire course of May and works to break the stigma of mental health.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you – the Travelers Tower in Hartford is lighting up green Wednesday evening into Thursday in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Travelers said they would promote their commitment to mental health amongst several initiatives with their employees as well. 

Mental Health Awareness Month runs the entire course of May and has been observed in the country since 1949. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health and fight back against stigmas. 

A new study focusing on the health of high schoolers in Connecticut found more kids are feeling sad or hopeless, depressed, and anxious.

The state-wide study, conducted every two years by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, is called the "Connecticut School Health Survey." 

The study, among other things, found the following:

  • 36% of high schoolers are feeling sad or hopeless (up from 31% in 2019) 
  • 29% say their mental health was most of the time or always, "not good."
  • 18% of respondents hurt themselves on purpose
  • 14% have seriously considered suicide

"It completely correlates with what I've been seeing," said Dr. Laine Taylor, Medical Director of The Village for Families & Children, a non-profit mental health agency in Connecticut.

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Taylor said the number of people seeking help at the nonprofit has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center also dealt with the same setbacks for kids during the pandemic. 

"The results aren't surprising considering where we were in terms of COVID, the COVID lockdowns and restrictions," said Dr. Melissa Santos, Division Head of Pediatric Psychology at Connecticut Children's. 

At the height of the pandemic, the emergency room at Connecticut Children's was filled with kids seeking mental health help. Dr. Santos said the numbers had gone down, but the need for support is still there.

Last year, the state invested millions of dollars in resources to bolster mental health support throughout Connecticut schools and nonprofit providers.

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