HoCo Officials Launch New Mental Health Campaign For Residents

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Mental health has become even more important as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home and children out of schools. Howard County Executive Ball and the Howard County Health Department have introduced a new campaign, “Let’s Talk About Mental Health,” intended to promote mental and behavioral health resources and referral services available in the county.

In late June, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to impact the country, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics estimated that more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults (36.1 percent) were suffering from symptoms of anxiety disorder in late July; during January-June 2019, 8.2 percent of U.S. adults reported experiencing those same symptoms.

“We are facing a multitude of crises at the current moment, and the effects have impacted the mental health of our residents,” Ball said. “COVID-19 has created significant mental health challenges for all demographics – isolation, anxiety, financial hardship, fear for the well-being of friends and family – these challenges are more easily overcome if openly discussed with a trusted family member, friend, mental health professional. Together, we can battle the stigma surrounding mental health and it starts by knowing it’s okay to ask for help.”

The campaign also is intended to encourage open conversation among youth and adults about mental health and any ongoing struggles.

“The most important message to take away from this campaign is that talking about these issues can save lives,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “We are living in a difficult time that has only amplified the mental health challenges that many are facing, but there is always someone out there you can talk to if you are struggling. Mental health problems can be hard to clearly define, but no matter the challenge you or a loved one are facing, our behavioral health staff are waiting for your call and prepared to direct you to the resource you need.”

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