The Horizon Foundation has launched a public outreach campaign designed to help people effectively support those in their lives who may be struggling with mental health challenges. The “Emotional Support Human” campaign, modeled after the concept of emotional support animals that provide comfort to many, aims to normalize conversations around mental health and offer tips for people to approach those conversations.

One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness in a given year, and there continues to be a significant need for mental health support. In 2018, Howard County residents made 2,831 emergency department visits related to a mental health condition – indicating that many community members aren’t receiving mental health care until it is an emergency. Research shows that there is an average delay of 10 years between the onset of symptoms and accessing treatment.

This campaign encourages all people in the community to show compassion and support for others experiencing mental health challenges by becoming an Emotional Support Human. The campaign provides suggestions on ways to start conversations, ideas on how to create a “safe space” for having those discussions and tips for offering practical help.