Mental Health Awareness Month

As the calendar turns to May, it marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month, a crucial period for advocating, understanding, and destigmatizing mental health issues. This year, amidst the ongoing global challenges, the focus on mental health couldn't be more relevant. Mental health is not just a personal issue; it's a universal human right that demands attention, care, and advocacy. It's a reminder that every individual, regardless of their background, deserves access to mental health resources, support, and understanding. Mental health issues often face discrimination, neglect, and lack of resources, hindering individuals from exercising this fundamental human right. One of the primary barriers to mental health care is stigma. Fear of judgment and discrimination prevents many from seeking help or speaking openly about their struggles. In October during LACPA convention Dr. Derald Wing Sue will provide us with the knowledge, skills and tactics that we can use in our continuing efforts to disarm and dismantle racism and bias. 

Access to mental health services is another critical aspect of ensuring mental health as a universal human right. 

Unfortunately, access remains unequal, with marginalized communities often facing greater barriers due to socioeconomic factors, discrimination, and systemic inequalities. Governments, healthcare providers, and communities must work together to dismantle these barriers and ensure equitable access to mental health support for all individuals. At the end of April LACPA joined forces with CPA on Lobby Day in Sacramento to unite psychologists from across the state to advocate for vital mental health-related legislation. This event highlighted the efforts of mental health professionals to improve legislative measures impacting mental health care. 

Education also plays a vital role in promoting mental health as a human right. By raising awareness, providing accurate information, and fostering empathy and understanding, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for those struggling with mental health issues. LACPA Community Outreach committee is holding an educational session at the Los Angeles Public Library May Fourth for this same reason.  

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to recognizing mental health as a universal human right. I am eager to know how you are observing this Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Let us strive to create a world where everyone can access the support, resources, and understanding they need to thrive mentally, emotionally, and socially. Together, we can break down barriers, challenge stigma, and build a more compassionate and inclusive society for all. 

Please share your suggestions and ideas to strengthen our collective efforts.

Peyman Raoofi, Psy.D.
President-Los Angeles County Psychological Association 
2024 Theme: “Mental Health as a Universal Human Right."
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