On Wednesday, May 1, County Executive George Latimer officially launched the month of May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in Westchester. Mental Health Awareness Month is a nationwide effort to address and overcome the stigma associated with mental health needs. One in five people will experience some type of mental health illness during their lifetime, but everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. 

The annual recognition will appear in digital form outside the Westchester County Center for the month of May, and a banner will also be displayed in the entranceway of the Michaelian Office Building. In addition, a series of other initiatives will be spearheaded by the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH). This year’s theme is: Where to Start – Mental Health in a Changing World. The world is ever-changing and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Whether it be the economy, politics, climate change or anything else out of your control, finding where to start is the beginning of taking care of one’s self.

Latimer said: “Each year, we proudly declare the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Westchester, because promoting good mental health is more relevant today than ever. It is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues, and help reduce the stigma that so many experience. I am very proud of all the wonderful work that is being done by our County departments, our not-for-profits and private clinicians, who offer support and services to the people of Westchester. The ways to receive help are many and varied, and we applaud those who are utilizing these opportunities to improve their mental health and wellness.”

Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) Michael Orth said: “The mental health of all Westchester County residents is a top priority. We thank County Executive Latimer for declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month, and promoting educational opportunities and services available here. The pandemic continues to take a toll on everyone’s mental health. Knowing the signs and symptoms and who to link to if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one is an important first step in getting help. It is important that we talk about mental health.”

The 988 Lifeline, St. Vincent’s Enhanced Behavioral Health Crisis Line, which is funded by Westchester County, is a free 24 hour a day, 7 day a week hotline that provides confidential support for people in distress as well as prevention and crisis resources for individuals in need and their loved ones.  Lifeline received over 8,000 calls in the year 2023.

As part of the County’s efforts to promote May as Mental Health Awareness Month, DCMH is launching a “Tweet a Day for May” campaign, sharing information about events, ideas and resources. Posts will be accessible by going to: X at @WestchesterDCMH and Facebook at @westchesterdcmh.

For additional information on resources and training programs, contact the Department of Community Mental Health at (914) 995-5220.