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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The statistics around mental health in the United States are striking, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One in five adults US adults experience a mental health condition each year.

Research led by Nirmita Panchal et. al. from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that 53% of women were already reporting negative impacts of the pandemic on mental health (2020).

Researcher Emma E. McGinty et. al. from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that psychological distress has increased six-fold in young adults (18-29 years old) and doubled in older adults (55+) compared to reported psychological distress in 2018 (2020).

These data are irrefutable, but there is always help. You are not alone.

In 2019, the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts funded a mental health initiative led by the Gandara Impact Youth Access Center and P.R.E.P (Personal Responsibility Education Program) as advised by the young women participating in the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI). Young adults ages 15 – 21 participated in a photovoice project around improving mental health and raising awareness on mental health in their community.

We learn from youth in our community the importance of communication to bring light to these issues and meet barriers with resources. We encourage you to share resources, lend a helping hand, and talk to family, friends, and others in your network about mental health. When you speak up, you remind them that they are not alone.

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