ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford declared May 2021 as Mental Health Awareness Month in Maryland.

The proclamation was presented by the Lt. Governor during a meeting of the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland.

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“One of our key priorities is providing resources and support to Marylanders facing mental health challenges,” said Governor Hogan. “It is our responsibility and duty to acknowledge how integral positive mental health is to our success as individuals, as a state, and our nation. If you or anyone you know is struggling, I encourage you to please take the first step and reach out for help.”

Lt. Gov. Rutherford highlighted the need to increase the acceptance and understanding surrounding mental and behavioral health issues.

“The Hogan-Rutherford administration is committed to increasing access to crucial mental health resources for all Marylanders while reducing barriers to treatment like affordability and accessibility,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Working collaboratively with our local, state, and federal partners will improve safety, quality of life and health outcomes for those Marylanders and their families.”

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Maryland was recently ranked among the top 10 states with a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care by Mental Health America. Maryland has a number of resources available for those seeking metal health information including 211.

Additionally, Maryland has partnered with the Behavioral Health Administration to launch MD Mind Health. Marylanders can text “MD Mind Health” to 898-211 to sign up and receive encouragement, reminders and resources for fighting isolation and staying connected.

BHA also launched “Operation Roll Call.” This program will offer regular check-in calls and support veterans. BHA will support mobile crisis services and stand-alone walk-in crisis services for the treatment of community mental health and substance use disorders.

The Maryland Department of Health has launched several different programs addressing mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. The CovidCONNECT website helps Marylanders impacted by COVID-19 by providing a central location for individuals to find mental health resources, bi-weekly webinars and virtual support groups.

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Last week, Governor Hogan announced the launch of “Project Bounce Back,” a $25 million public-private partnership to support strategic mental health services, expand youth development programs, address Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and develop innovative, data-driven digital solutions to build resilience.

CBS Baltimore Staff