BOSTON – May 6, 2016 – In honor of national Mental Health Awareness Month, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) will host and participate in several events that follow the national theme: Life with a Mental Illness.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family. The Life with a Mental Illness theme supports individuals in sharing their personal stories and further dismantles the stigma and discrimination that is associated with of living with a mental health condition.
More than 26,000 Massachusetts residents receive services through DMH. During the month of May, DMH will bring attention to the stories of people who are living with mental health conditions and are seeking recovery.
“DMH’s mission is to advocate for the mental health of our citizens, and throughout May we are joining a national effort to raise awareness about living with a mental health condition,” said DMH Commissioner, Joan Mikula. “We promote mental health through education, early intervention, treatment, and policy development so that all Massachusetts residents may live full and productive lives.”
Each May, DMH recognizes Mental Health Month with a performance that celebrates the talents of youth who participate in a year-round arts immersion program called Express Yourself. On Thursday, May 26, 2016 DMH will co-sponsor, the 22nd Annual performance of Express Yourself. The performance Illuminate will feature over 150 youth from 18 DMH treatment programs and underserved youth from 80 Greater Boston communities and North Shore community partners. This exciting and fun event will showcase their talents on a colorful stage set designed by Express Yourself youth and artists.
“It’s important that we spread the hope that recovery is possible and can be achieved with the supports that DMH provides,” said Mike, a person who lives with a mental health condition and who receives services from DMH.
Other activities and events planned throughout May include stories of acceptance, prevention, intervention, and recovery and are used to help others recognize the symptoms of mental illness, the signs of needing help, and the services available to assist. Here are a few activities from DMH, and their community partners:
- May 14 – NAMI Mass Walk (Boston, MA) and May 15 – NAMI Western Mass Walk (Westfield, MA) Join NAMI and thousands of passionate advocates at the 13th Annual walk raises money for mental health education and support programs, raise awareness of our state’s need for a world-class treatment and recovery system for people with mental illness, and eliminate the stigma and stereotypes that surround these brain disorders.
- May 26 – Express Yourself: Illuminate (Boston, MA) The 22nd annual show features the artistic talents of over 150 will perform alongside Samantha Johnson from America’s Got Talent, STOMP, Jared Mason from Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet, Ten31 Productions, West African Drumming, and the Boston Children’s Chorus.
- May 28 – Me2 Orchestra at the Boston Children’s Museum Me2/ (“me, too”) is the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them. Me2 is excited to return to the Boston Children’s Museum for the second year in a row. Join us for a stigma-free program suitable for all ages. Visit: me2orchestra.org
For a complete list of DMH and community partner event, visit the DMH Community Calendar here.
About the MA Department of Mental Health (DMH)
The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities. DMH establishes standards to ensure effective and culturally competent care to promote recovery. It sets policy, promotes self-determination, protects human rights and supports mental health training and research. This critical mission is accomplished by working in partnership with other state agencies, individuals, families, providers and communities. To learn more about DMH, visit: www.mass.gov/dmh
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