#MindYourMentalHealth: Treating Mental Illness is a Whole New Ballgame | SHARE Charlotte

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#MindYourMentalHealth: Treating Mental Illness is a Whole New Ballgame

Written by Grant Stimmel    on May 16, 2018    in

Treating mental illness is a whole new ballgame

It’s a warm spring evening in Charlotte, and a perfect night for baseball.

10,197 fans make their way into BB&T Ballpark to watch the Knights play the Norfolk Tides. But there’s more going on in the stadium than baseball and dizzy bat races.

In the stands that night sit 713 adults battling major depression — a full 7% of the crowd.

They’re not sitting in special sections. Or wearing brightly colored shirts.

They look, and act, and seem like everyone else in the crowd that night. But for many, there’s an untold sadness behind their eyes. A pain, that for whatever reason, they’ve been unable to shake. 

Mental illness is invisible. That’s what makes it so challenging. You can see a broken leg, you know what needs to be done to fix it. But someone’s mental health? 

That’s a whole new ballgame. 


Two Charlotte Organizations Making A Difference

How do you help what you can’t see? Sometimes it starts with a wagging tail.

Project 2 Heal has been raising service dogs in Charlotte since 2010, where they’ve helped thousands of residents though their toughest times.

For many, opening up about struggles with mental health is a surprisingly difficult task. That’s why it takes an average of 10 years between the first sign of symptoms and an ultimate intervention.

Talking about this stuff is hard. But what if those suffering didn’t have to? That’s where Project 2 Heal founder Charlie Petrizzo comes in with his labrador retrievers.

They offer the best kind of love and support  — without ever saying a word. Charlie’s pups visit schools, hospitals, and workplaces in Mecklenburg County, helping to ease everything from general anxiety to the toughest mental illnesses.

Project 2 Heal’s service dogs are proof that when it comes to treating mental illness, it’s not always about what you say. Rather, it’s about being there for someone who’s struggling. 

And, in the case of Charlie’s dogs, letting those in need scratch you behind the ears every now and then.


How A Simple Human Touch Can Help

While Project 2 Heal’s service dogs provide crucial services to Charlotte, sometimes it takes a human touch to make all the difference in the world.

Sanctuary Counseling Group has been helping locals deal with mental and emotional struggles for decades. They’re dedicated to, “healing the heart, mind, and soul,” by offering counseling sessions for both kids and adults.

These sessions provide a crucial contact point for those who find it difficult to talk to friends or family about their mental health.

How can you help?

Of course these organizations could always use your help — your time volunteering, your donations, your support.

No one person or group can solve every mental illness issue on their own, but together we can all take small steps toward helping those in need.

Sometimes a single kind word or gesture can change a life. Believe that, it’s true.

So the next time you’re at a Knight’s game, enjoying yet another setting sun over the Charlotte skyline, take a moment to appreciate your health. And if you are there struggling, know that you’re far from alone.

You’re surrounded by friends, family, and yes even strangers in ballcaps, who are more than willing to help.

This information is sponsored by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare and is a part of the #MindYourMentalHealth Spotlight Series