HANFORD — The Kings County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to adopt a resolution recognizing May as Mental Health Matters Month, joining a statewide effort to promote mental well-being.
During their Tuesday meeting, Phil Leanos, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) program manager for Kings County Behavioral Health, proposed the resolution as a means of raising awareness. According to Leanos, there is no impact to the general fund for doing so, as the services are already covered for the 2021 fiscal year under the act.
Mental Health Matters Month was adopted by the State of California in 2013 in order to generate dialogue and a greater understanding of mental health treatment and reduce some of the social and cultural shames that are often attached to it.
“The goal is to increase awareness,” Leanos said. “But also to reduce the barriers and stigma associated with individuals seeking mental health treatment and wellness programs, [and help them to] live a longer and healthier life.”
As a major part of this effort, Kings County Behavioral Health is working in collaboration with the Kings Partnership for Prevention (KPFP) and with the Kings County Mental Health Task Force. Among the methods being deployed are extensive radio ads with groups like iHeart Media and popular stations of theirs like 94.5 FM “B95.” They are also expecting to make a major push into the Spanish-speaking community, with bilingual ads, posters and other means.
“We’re going to have outreach events targeting Spanish-speaking populations like the Hanford Flea Market, sharing newly designed Mental Health Matters magnets, resources to Mental Health Task Force members, to place in their respective sites and share with community members,” Leanos added.
The “Take What You Need” poster is a motivational piece for walls, with tear-away tags that have reminders for things such as “patience,” “faith,” “healing” and “strength” on them. The posters will be printed and shared in both Spanish and English.
The resolution was adopted with unanimous support by the board.