Orange County Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month in May
May is National Mental Health Awareness month. Each year, residents, community organizations and major employers across the U.S. highlight the effort to fight the stigma linked to mental health issues, provide support, educate and advocate for policies and resources to assist those living with mental illness and their families.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Furthermore, half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24.
To assist residents, Orange County’s Community and Family Services Department offers mental health and substance abuse services through Aspire Health Partners. Additionally, the Belvin Perry, Jr. Central Receiving Center in Orlando serves individuals engaged by local law enforcement who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis. This service was created between the Florida Department of Children and Families and Orange County Government.
Orange County was one of the first Fla. counties to offer an option for law enforcement officers to divert individuals to a treatment and crisis system, rather than jail.
Wraparound Orange provides mental health services – at no cost to families – for children and adolescents in Orange County. The federally funded program is a mental health system of care that is family-driven, youth-guided and culturally competent for youth and their families.
Leading up to National Mental Health Awareness month, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, alongside County Correction’s officers, attended the NAMIWalks event at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs. The annual event held in April serves as a community fundraising event that creates awareness about mental illness and raises funds for NAMI organizations across the country.
Additionally, Mayor Demings was recognized for his service and dedication to the community at the Mental Health Association of Central Florida’s Legacy of Champions Luncheon and Award Ceremony.
“The Mental Health Association of Central Florida has awarded many champions before me, those who have not been afraid to use their voices, and positions to bring the issue of mental illness to the forefront of our community,” said Mayor Demings at the luncheon. “Having been in public service for nearly four decades, I have seen first-hand what mental illness and addiction can do to our communities and families.”
To learn more about mental health services in the area, visit Orange County’s Mental Health and Homelessness webpage.
Watch the OCFL Update recap video of this event.
Photo Caption: [R-L] Orange County Corrections officers, Orange County Corrections Chief Louis A. Quiñones and Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings attend the Greater Orlando NAMIWalks event on April 27, 2019, leading up to Mental Health Awareness Month in May.