FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Local and national mental health advocates, including Mental Health First Aid USA, from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing (formerly the National Council for Behavioral Health), applaud the release of proclamations by governors across the country in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month this May 2021. Governors are directly navigating the mental health and substance use challenges exacerbated by COVID-19 and recognize the need for community-based interventions like Mental Health First Aid.
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that teaches individuals how to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge.
Many of the gubernatorial proclamations state that recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month in 2021 should be coupled with action to provide mental health education and training that helps people live longer and healthier lives.
“Given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, it is especially important now that we have open and honest conversations about mental health and substance use challenges,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council. “It is promising to see state leaders recognize Mental Health Awareness Month and the tools and resources available for their communities, including Mental Health First Aid.”
“We are encouraged to see governors across the country recognize the importance of calling attention to our nation’s mental health, substance use and overdose crises,” said Deanne Roepke, vice president and general manager of Mental Health First Aid USA. “It is critical that we all continue working together to expand access to community-based care and reduce the stigma around mental health and substance use challenges. By increasing awareness of mental health training and intervention programs like Mental Health First Aid, we can ensure that students, teachers, coworkers, friends and families have the tools they need to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge.”
Thus far, gubernatorial proclamations have been issued in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As our nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mental Health First Aid USA and the National Council urges states to continue elevating this important and necessary work. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, visit https://www.MHFA.org.
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of nearly 3,500 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.