Planting Hope: Newport Marks World Mental Health Day

Planting Hope: Newport Marks World Mental Health Day

According to the World Health Organization’s latest statistics, depression is one of the leading causes of disability, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental wellness and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives.

Newport Healthcare’s mission is to help change that. Our Planting Hope initiative on World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2021, was part of our ongoing effort to reduce the stigma around mental health conditions and open the door for more young people to receive the treatment they need.

Creating Gardens of Hope

Established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day was created to promote mental health education and advocacy. It is celebrated annually on October 10. To mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, staff and clients at Newport Healthcare locations around the country planted trees and created rock gardens to help raise awareness around the mental health concerns facing teens and young adults today.

These Gardens of Hope serve as tangible reminders of hope and renewal. The rocks surrounding each tree are painted with words that inspire hope—such as Courage, Self-Love, Acceptance, Unity, and Compassion.

The Significance of World Mental Health Day

This year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a time when the youth mental health crisis, accelerated by the pandemic, has reached devastating proportions. A new UNICEF report on child and adolescent health found that 19 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds in 21 countries self-reported in the first half of 2021 that they often feel depressed and uninterested in daily activities. Furthermore, the report states that an estimated 45,800 adolescents die from suicide each year—more than one young person every 11 minutes.

And yet, the number of psychiatrists who specialize in treating children and adolescents is fewer than .1 per 100,000, according to the report. Even in high-income countries, that number is only 5.5 in 100,000. This shortage of services inspired the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day: “Mental health care for all: Let’s make it a reality.”

Planting Hope for World Mental Health Day

Trees are a universal symbol of growth and restoration, across time and cultures. At each location in our nationwide network of Newport Healthcare treatment centers, we planted a tree native to the area, including red maple trees at Bethlehem, CT and Atlanta, GA, an American sycamore at McLean, VA, a Sweetbay Magnolia at Port Townsend, WA, and a Colorado Blue Spruce at Oakley, UT. The initiative also brings attention to the environmental threats the planet faces. A full 30 percent of the world’s trees are currently at risk of extinction, including oaks, magnolias, and maples.

Everyone has the ability to make a change, and anything is possible. I’ve turned myself into someone I never thought I could be. I’m doing things people told me I would never accomplish. More importantly, I am proud of myself and who I am.

—Newport alum

Paving the Way Toward a More Hopeful Future

Each Newport community participated in creating a Garden of Hope with a tree at its center. Teens and young adults in our outpatient and residential locations painted rocks with the words and phrases that have been most meaningful for them as they make their journeys of healing and self-discovery. Their words and the Gardens of Hope will serve as beacons for those who follow in their footsteps along the path of healing. Newport Healthcare is dedicated to expanding access to care  so that more young people can receive effective, high-quality treatment and step into a future full of thriving and possibility.

When redwoods are damaged by forest fire or struck by lightning and a limb falls off, new growth emerges from that place. In the same way, when we experience trauma and suffering, it doesn’t have to destroy us. It can help us grow.

Leigh McInnis, LPC
Newport Executive Director