Media Advisory: Mental Health Awareness Week 2019


This year’s goal is to reach a wider and more diverse audience

RONKONKOMA, NY – OCTOBER 4, 2019: Long Islanders will be engaged online and in-person this year during National Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday, October 6 through Saturday, October 12. The week is part of a national initiative established by Congress in 1990 to provide public information to help eradicate the stigma that too often serves as a barrier to people seeking mental health services. While in previous years, Mental Health Awareness Week on Long Island consisted of a series of events, this year aims to reach a larger and more diverse audience by utilizing digital and social media.

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Ronkonkoma-based Association for Mental Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, headquartered in Hempstead.

For the fourth year in a row, the week will be built around the theme of “Shine a Light on Mental Health” and will include a myriad of events including film screenings, health fairs, public forums, lectures, and more. Digital media will also be used to highlight stories of recovery, lived experiences, and success. The objective is to bring into focus people overcoming life circumstances that include mental health distress, and to reinforce that recovery is the expected outcome. The videos – which can be found on – will be posted throughout the week on MHAW’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels.

“By broadening our communication to include digital media, we can both engage and reach more people with practical tools to support recovery” said Michael Stoltz, CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness. “We want to harness the power of social media to help reduce the stigma too often associated with mental health issues.”

Short three to four minute videos were produced by a myriad of Long Island-based organizations including the Association for Mental Health and Wellness, the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, the Warrior Ranch Foundation, Long Island Cares, and Northwell Health, as well as students at Stony Brook University. Other videos were produced by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The videos cover a wide range of topics including Veterans, the emerging role of peers, healing and recovery, education, and crisis prevention.

Other partners presenting events that week include: Suffolk County Community College, Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island, Mercy Haven, Inc., Suffolk County United Veterans, and St. Francis Community of Faith.

Mental Health Awareness Week enjoys strong support from the corporate community. Sponsors include: Bradley & Parker, Outer County Construction, Adelphi University, Absolute Electric Services, and the Center for Discovery.

For information about Mental Health Awareness Week, including videos and a calendar of events, go to:

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About the Association for Mental Health and Wellness

The Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation based in Ronkonkoma, NY, provides programs, services, and advocacy for people facing mental health challenges with an enhanced focus on serving military Veterans.

MHAW dates back to 1955 with the incorporation of the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County (MHA Suffolk). In 1990, Clubhouse of Suffolk was launched, providing a wide array of vocational rehabilitation services and recovery programs. With the growing need to provide services for Veterans with PTSD and other battle-related brain injuries, Clubhouse merged with MHA Suffolk and Suffolk County United Veterans in 2014 to form the Association for Mental Health and Wellness.

MHAW is committed to the core practice values of empowerment, hope, opportunity, and cultural competence. All of the agency’s direct service workers are trained in the importance of addressing health from trauma-informed and whole person perspectives with enriched understanding of the social and economic conditions that contribute to physical and mental health and substance abuse.

About the Mental Health Association of Nassau County

Since its founding in 1953, the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (MHANC) has advocated for the needs of adults and children with psychiatric and emotional difficulties. This priority has guided their mission for over five decades and led them to develop concrete rehabilitation services that benefit adults and children with psychiatric disabilities.

MHANC is committed to assisting these individuals to recover from the devastating impacts of the illness and move on to live productive and meaningful lives. The organization focuses on the concrete elements of life: safe housing, employment, friendship and managing money.

Seeking to collaborate with other providers to benefit the community, Hispanic Counseling Center and others, MHANC works with all of the clinics in Nassau County, providing consultations to many school districts and coordinating advocacy on behalf of the mental health system. In addition to their direct service programs. MHANC advocates for the needs of the mental health community and fight discrimination laws and stigmatizing media messages; promoting adequate funding for services and encouraging consumers to speak for themselves on personal and policy issues.


Nearly 1 in 5 adults, more than 18%, in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year.

5-6% of American adults have a serious mental illness; about 2% have disorders that are long-term and disabling, contributing to very high rates of unemployment and poor living conditions.

More than 450 million people around the world live with mental illnesses.

20-25% of Americans have a diagnosable mental and/or substance use disorder in any given year: 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness.

There were approximately 20.6 million people in the United States over the age of 12 with an addiction in 2011, excluding tobacco.

Over 3 million people in 2011 received treatment for their addiction.

The Long Island Coalition estimated that there are approximately 3,000 homeless people in Nassau County and 64 of them are living on the streets.

30-40% of homeless adults and 15-20% of people in jails and prisons in the United States have a serious mental illness. This is often accompanied by substance abuse problems in both these populations.

As many as 10% of children have a serious emotional disturbance, contributing to school failure and other serious problems.

Just over 20 percent of children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.

It is estimated that 1 in 68 children in the US have autism.

As the number of older adults doubles over the next two decades so will the number of older adults with mental disordersThis includes 5.5 million older adults who currently have Alzheimer’s disorder or other dementia. Without advances in prevention, this will rise to 11 million older adults with dementia by 2050.

11 to 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD.

30% of soldiers develop mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.

Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (aka PTSD, an anxiety disorder that follows experiencing a traumatic event) are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.