County Executive’s Corner: “May is Mental Health Awareness Month” (By County Executive Ed Day)

Every year, the month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to shedding light on the importance of mental well-being, combating stigma, and promoting access to mental health resources. With mental health disorders affecting more than one in five U.S. adults, this observance serves as a crucial reminder of the significance of mental health in our lives.

Mental Health Awareness Month has a history dating back to 1949 when the Mental Health America organization initiated the observance as “Mental Health Week”. Over time, it evolved into a month-long campaign aimed at raising awareness, providing education, and advocating for policies to support individuals living with mental health conditions.

One of the primary goals of Mental Health Awareness Month is to combat stigma surrounding mental illness. Stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help and can lead to discrimination and social isolation. By promoting open conversations, sharing personal stories, and dispelling myths, awareness initiatives help break down barriers and encourage individuals to seek support without fear of judgement.

Furthermore, mental health awareness campaigns play a crucial role in improving accessibility to mental health services. By highlighting the importance of mental health care, communities are galvanized to invest in resources, expand services, and support initiatives aimed at reaching underserved populations.

Increased awareness also fosters collaboration between mental health professionals, policymakers, and community organizations to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

In Rockland County, our Department of Mental Health (RCDMH) is working to reduce stigma and improve accessibility by bringing youth mental health resources into schools and pediatric offices. Crisis services are being revamped, including the addition of a regional Intensive Crisis Stabilization Center in Rockland and a single-point-of-contact phone number to improve access to behavioral health services.

To gather community ideas and suggestions for mental health services, RCDMH is hosting community forums including at the Haverstraw Center on May 8 th and another May 14 th at the Nyack Library.

We encourage our residents to attend and share how we can better assist with mental health concerns, intellectual and developmental disabilities, substance use disorders, and more! Contact our Department of Mental Health for more info or about local resources @ 845-364-2391.

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