In response to the rise of mental health conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, County Commissioner Levine Cava is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Miami-Dade County and the Health Foundation of South Florida to bring mental health awareness and solutions to local communities.
A national evidence-based program, produced by NAMI and titled Ending the Silence, is launching in Miami-Dade County this month. Ending the Silence is an engaging presentation that helps parents, caregivers and youth learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if someone is showing symptoms. The program sessions include two leaders with mental health experiences: a parent or caregiver who shares facts, statistics and practical information like how to get help; and a young adult with a mental health condition who shares their journey of recovery.
With the financial backing of the Health Foundation of South Florida and the nonprofit network spearheaded by Commissioner Levine Cava, the local NAMI will initially provide 25 free, virtual Zoom sessions of Ending the Silence targeted to parents and care givers of middle school, high school and college aged youth. The sessions are designed to be interactive to encourage attendees to ask questions and gain an understanding of the often-misunderstood topic of mental health. The program will be offered in English and Spanish.
“The pandemic has amplified our community’s need for mental health awareness and education as fear, isolation, stress and anxiety have increased with limited support available,” said County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. “I am proud to have cultivated a nonprofit network throughout our County that can help us reach those parents and youth in our communities that need mental health support.”
“Half of all people living with a mental health condition start having symptoms by age 14, yet it takes eight to ten years for them to get treatment,” said NAMI Executive Director Kathy Coppola. “Many teens are afraid to speak up when they need help. Our program changes that.”
“The stress, anxiety and hardship many of our neighbors feel as a result of the pandemic is unleashing serious mental health challenges in our community,” said Steven E. Marcus, President and CEO of the Health Foundation of South Florida. “Mental health is tied to overall well-being, and it must be treated with the same urgency as physical health. We’re proud to help bring Ending the Silence to Miami-Dade, as it reflects our commitment to increasing the availability of health services for anyone in our community who needs them.”
To register for or have your organization host an Ending the Silence program – or to get more information about mental health issues – call 305-665-2540, email Info@NAMIMiami.org or go to NAMIMiami.org.