Health

Mental Health Month: How to Help Reduce Stigma

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways and tested our collective resilience. Incidents of hate and racism directed at members of our communities have further compounded these impacts.

“Over the course of the pandemic, many of us have faced challenges and situations that have brought on strong emotions and impacted our mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Luke Bergmann, director of the County of San Diego’s Behavioral Health Services.

“This includes feelings of isolation, disconnection, anxiety and depression. The availability of vaccines gives us hope for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the work of addressing the long-term impact on behavioral health requires sustained attention, resources, and prioritization for our community to fully recover,” Bergmann said.

Since 1949, people in the United States have observed May Is Mental Health Month, which provides an opportunity to promote community awareness of mental health through conversations that reduce the longstanding stigma around seeking help. Along with being a time to improve our collective understanding, it offers an opportunity to reflect on individuals in our community who are currently struggling, who are recovering, and who are disproportionately impacted. It is a time to celebrate all who are working to improve lives, sharing their own journeys, and breaking down barriers to create access, equity and safe spaces for all.

May is Mental Health Month 2021 brings San Diegans a unique opportunity to participate and engage in a virtual format. With COVID-19 prevention measures still in place, events will continue to be virtual, displays will be personalized, and activities will meet you where you are. You can see what is planned by the County of San Diego and many of its partners here.

Throughout the month of May, all San Diegans are asked to join the mental health community in raising awareness, reducing stigma and reaffirming the community’s commitment to self-care and support for each other.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact