May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year it seems more important than ever that we all recognize its importance.
A few weeks ago, we hosted our first in-person event in over two years highlighting all the work the Howard County community has done in recent years to bolster mental health services and commit ourselves to doing more. It was a fantastic evening, full of inspiring guest speakers and community members who came out in force to show that mental health matters.
From funding to bring enhanced mental health supports to every Howard County public school, to the recent opening of Sheppard Pratt’s new walk-in crisis clinic in Elkridge, to the national 988 crisis line launching this summer, we’ve certainly come a long way in responding to mental health needs. But we also know it’s not enough – and for too many members of our community, the response has come too late.
Both local and national data show that indicators of anxiety and depression have spiked since the start of the pandemic, and those trends show no sign of slowing down. For our youth in particular, mental health challenges were already on the rise even before COVID-19. We are only just beginning to understand the scale of the crisis after years of intense stress and loss. It will require all of us to double down on our work, and to step up for those around us who are struggling.
The Horizon Foundation is grateful for all of our amazing partners working to improve access to mental health services for everyone in Howard County – and to every community member who has raised their voice in support. In addition to the new crisis clinic at Sheppard Pratt, you can find important resources at NAMI of Howard County and Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. For tips on how to support people in your life experiencing mental health challenges, visit our Emotional Support Human campaign. You can also join our Mental Health Matters Coalition to get involved in our advocacy efforts to expand access to mental health services.
Mental health matters – to all of us. The Horizon Foundation will keep working to support our mental health care system in Howard County and beyond. Let’s keep working together to respond to this post-pandemic pandemic with care, compassion and urgency.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, call Grassroots at 410-531-6677.