Mental health check: Did you know about the free services at Vera House?

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the entire globe. In the United States, many people are still out of work and grappling with anxiety and those at Vera House want you to know their free mental health resources are always available.

“A lot of things people are experiencing are things that they have held in or are things they haven’t talked to anyone about,” said George Kilpatrick, men’s outreach coordinator with Vera House.

Kilpatrick spends a lot of time talking and working with the men in our community and de-stigmatizing the often taboo topic of mental health.

The resources at Vera House are free, so they break down a monetary barrier he says can prevent people from getting in touch with their emotions.

The 24/7 crisis and support line is always just a phone call away: 315-468-3260.

“It’s open to anyone, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression. Men, women, children, gay, lesbian, straight, non-binary,” said Kilpatrick.

They’re resources those at Vera House say people need now, more than they did before, and the pandemic isn’t the only thing taking a toll on mental health.

“Racial inequity, systemic oppression has been happening in this country for centuries,” said Kilpatrick. Separately from Vera House, Kilpatrick put together a panel with Black therapists around the country called We Are Not Okay.

“Many Black men were affected or traumatized by the experiences of the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and the names continue,” said Kilpatrick. “I kept hearing how they were tired, how they were frustrated.”

He’s encouraging the conversation to continue and hoping those on the front lines of change will check in with their mental health and talk about what’s going on when they need someone to lean on.

We’re talking about this notion of masculinity and wearing the mask and not willing to show their vulnerability and their hurt and their pain, especially around these continued microaggressions. Many others in the community are finally seeing what Black and Brown folk and other people of color found throughout their lives, microaggression. These things that are happening, we’ve been talking about this for years so this is not a new thing that we have awareness about now.

George Kilpatrick

As more people march and stand in solidarity, Kilpatrick says it’s a time we can put action to words for the change people want to see.

"So that means having a conversation, that means being able to say, 'buddy, I'm not ok today and here's why, can I talk to you about that?'"

If you’re part of a protest and looking for mental health services, you can call the Southwest Community Center at 315-474-6823.

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