*Los Angeles, CA – Didi Hirsch, home of the nation’s premier Suicide Prevention Center and a leading provider of whole-person mental health and crisis care, together with Councilmember Nithya Raman’s Office, proclaimed May as Mental Health Is Health Month (MHIHM) in the City of Los Angeles. With this proclamation, Didi Hirsch announced a national campaign for mental health equity and parity including 2022 MHIH Ambassadors such as Jhene Aiko, an outspoken and brave advocate, and MTV Entertainment Group.
The pandemic, trauma, loss, and inequities have further impacted the population’s mental wellbeing. In the past year alone, ten percent of Los Angeles residents thought about suicide and 13.9 percent have experienced serious psychological distress. In addition, an average of two Los Angeles County residents die by suicide every day. This growing crisis is felt across the country, particularly among youth, as the nation has experienced a 15-year upswing of mental health issues on college campuses. With 60 percent of teens and young people with depression unable to access care, the current risk is heightened and the need for available resources is even more magnified. Didi Hirsch is experiencing a 13 percent increase in calls, chats, and texts, with 136,000 received per year on average at the Suicide Prevention Center’s 24/7 English/Spanish Crisis Line. This proclamation is a meaningful step to amplifying mental health awareness.
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To address this growing crisis, the City of Los Angeles and mental health advocates, together with Didi Hirsch, proclaimed May as Mental Health Is Health Month–an action-oriented approach to National Mental Health Awareness Month while awareness of gaps in mental health and substance use care is at an all-time high. Over 25 years ago, Didi Hirsch started a movement to erase the ‘interpersonal stigma’ of mental illness by launching the nation’s first Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards, honoring those who courageously shared their stories for others. Today, Didi Hirsch’s month-long campaign will bring attention to ‘structural stigmas,’ which experts say are more systemic laws, policies, and practices that treat patients with mental illness as less important. Calls to action to advocate, donate, and activate through 4 weekly themes of Health Heroes, Youth, Crisis Care, and Whole-person Care, seek to ensure that all healthcare finally sees and treats the mind and body as inseparable and no child, family, or adult is left without access.
The 2022 Didi Hirsch Mental Health Is Health Month Ambassadors include:
- Jhene Aiko, a six-time Grammy Nominee and mental health advocate;
- MTV Entertainment Group with decades-long legacy of mental health work;
- Adia Fadaei, Mental Health is Health Youth Ambassador, a 19-year-old mental health and suicide prevention advocate from Los Angeles, California.
Throughout the month, Didi Hirsch will share powerful stories of this year’s Ambassadors, conduct highly engaging social media activations, and host curated opportunities to educate and activate individuals in advocacy.
“We are grateful to the City of Los Angeles for not stopping at the awareness of mental health needs in our communities in May, but choosing to destigmatize systems with its investments and this concrete message of hope and equity,” said Didi Hirsch’s CEO Jonathan Goldfinger, MD, MPH, FAAP. “As we celebrate 80 years of service, Didi Hirsch will highlight to the public how world-class, whole-person mental health and suicide prevention services look and feel, especially to the youth, health professionals, BIPOC, and other communities where discrimination and injustice limit access. With the support of the City of Los Angeles, we are confident this action-oriented campaign will help save and transform lives.”
“As someone who has battled depression and anxiety, I’m deeply aware that Mental Health Is Health,” said Jhene Aiko, singer, mental health advocate and Mental Health Is Health Ambassador. “I’m honored to be recognized and grateful to Didi Hirsch, the City of Los Angeles and Councilmember Raman for creating a culture of positivity surrounding mental health.”
“Over the past few years we have seen mental health issues skyrocket – in large part due to the pandemic – affecting the lives of Angelenos regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status,” said Councilmember Nithya Raman. “I am so proud to partner with Didi Hirsch, which has a long-standing commitment to the local Los Angeles community, to proclaim May as Mental Health is Health Month, and ensure that anyone struggling with mental health is connected with the support and resources they need”
“We greatly admire the life-saving work of Didi Hirsch, and are honored to be recognized for our commitment to demystify, destigmatize and normalize conversations around mental health, especially among young people today,” said Brianna Cayo Cotter, Senior Vice President of Social Impact, MTV Entertainment Group. “From harnessing the power of storytelling to convening cross-sector partners, we are proud to amplify the message that Mental Health is Health.”
“I am hopeful for the country’s youth amid our mental health crisis as Didi Hirsch, mental health supporters, and local elected officials prioritize removing the stigma of mental health and suicide,” said Adia Fadaei, Didi Hirsch’s Youth Mental Health is Health Ambassador. “As a member of the nation’s First Mental Health Youth Action Forum, I am working towards presenting how to break down barriers to access, together saving lives, one student at a time.”
Didi Hirsch’s MHIHM campaign aims to ignite social change and empower audiences to take action by advocating, donating, and participating in social media. Click-to-contact advocacy will create a multi-demographic effort for policy change in support of mental health. Easy-to-activate opportunities, including a How I Look/How I Feel Challenge on social media, will encourage participants to post the juxtaposition of how they look with an image depicting how they “really” feel inside. For Ask a Therapist, Didi Hirsch will invite one to two influencer therapists to answer questions on their Instagram account every week. In a daily Just Checking on You campaign, Didi Hirsch’s Instagram followers can look forward to a different influencer and VIP checking in to ask how they’re doing and feeling. The Power of Donation will educate audiences that, as a collective, their contribution will make an impact, especially in our communities most vulnerable to recent traumas and long-standing inequities. The campaign will include data, real stories, and vital statistics, shedding light on the importance of treating mental health as equal to physical health.
Didi Hirsch recognizes supporters, including Bubble Skincare and Patterson’s Auto Team, for donating a portion of their proceeds supporting Didi Hirsch’s MHIHM. In addition, SUR Restaurant and Lounge owners Nathalie and Guillermo Zapata are donating in loving memory of their brilliant and dear friend Chris Huvane.
Today Didi Hirsch is also building upon 80 years of impact by leading the 13 California 988 Crisis Centers’ growth toward a successful, equitable launch of 988. With $20 Million from the Newsom Administration, $14 Million more just received from the Biden Administration for all 13 Centers, plus $12 Million from the federal government for Didi Hirsch to grow its unique capacity for Spanish speakers and chat and text services which are disproportionately used by youth. The new easy-to-remember three-digit number for mental health crisis care is going live on July 16, 2022. Recently, Didi Hirsch has partnered with Mantra Health to provide best-in-class virtual mental health services and 24/7 on-demand support for college students who need immediate mental health, substance use, or suicide crisis care.
For the month of May, Didi Hirsch has created a social media tool kit HERE to advocate, donate, and join the Mental Health is Health movement. Didi Hirsch invites social media users to drive awareness for the cause with educational and inspirational content by using #HowILookHowIFeel and tagging @Didi_Hirsch. Visit mentalhealthishealth.org for weekly activations.