County of Marin - News Releases - Mental Health Awareness

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2019

Support Mental Health with a Fashion Statement

Wearing lime green means you’re willing to talk about it and reduce the stigma

San Rafael, CA – Here’s a fashion recommendation: When choosing what clothes to wear for the rest of the month of May, reach into the closet or dresser and pull out anything lime green.

Maya Gladstern, President of the Marin County Mental Health Board, promotes Mental Health Awareness Month before the Board of Supervisors on May 7, 2019.Maya Gladstern, President of the Marin County Mental Health Board, wears lime green as she promotes Mental Health Awareness Month before the Board of Supervisors on May 7, 2019.
Most employees in the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) division of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are doing it. Lime green is the nationally recognized color of mental health awareness, which is highlighted by wearing lime green ribbons during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.

“It is a way to start important conversations about mental health and help reduce stigma,” said BHRS Director Dr. Jei Africa. “When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle for you, the person suffering, and others around them. But there is hope, and there is help available.”

The Marin County Board of Supervisors recently recognized Mental Health Awareness Month by passing a resolution that said, in part, that “everyone can make a different in helping end the silence and stigma that for too long has surrounded mental illness and has discouraged people from getting help.”

Untreated mental illness is the leading cause of disability around the world. Every May for the past 70 years, communities across the United States have emphasized the importance of reaching out and supporting one another. In Marin, BHRS is committed to collaborating with partner organizations and community members to reduce stigma and promote wellness.

“We believe that mental illness is something that impacts all our lives in one way or another,” Africa said, “and that we can each be part of the solution.”

In support of Mental Health Awareness Month, BHRS hosted several local events. On May 2, results of a needs assessment on suicide prevention were released and about 40 attendees shared their voices about preventing suicide in Marin County. Additional activities included stress reduction workshops for Marin County staff, a Youth Mental Health Summit, and Mental Health First Aid training classes. Wrapping up the month’s activities is the 13th annual Celebrating the Uncelebrated Recognition Awards Dinner and Art Exhibit, which recognizes those who have selflessly contributed to the betterment of the entire community.

“It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable,” Africa said. “Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making a person physically and mentally healthy. It’s all about finding the right balance to benefit both the mind and body.”

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions as well as chronic physical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Exercise and eating right also can help people recover from mental health challenges. For those dealing with a chronic physical health condition and the people who care for them, it’s important to focus on mental health.

Much more information can be found at www.marinhhs.org/bhrs.

Contact:

Dr. Jei Africa
Program Director
Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Department of Health and Human Services

20 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7595
CRS Dial 711
Email: Dr. Jei Africa
Marin HHS webpage