This Is The First Step Toward Reducing Stigma

The city of Los Angeles recently commissioned May as Mental Health Is Health Month and Jhené Aiko is an ambassador for the cause.

The Commissioning

The city of Los Angeles recently commissioned May as Mental Health Is Health Month and honored singer and long-time mental health advocate Jhené Aiko as an ambassador for the cause.

In collaboration with the office of councilmember Nithya Raman, Didi Hirsch proclaimed May as Mental Health Is Health Month (MHIHM) in Los Angeles. Didi Hirsch is the nation’s leading Suicide Prevention Center and a premier holistic mental health care provider.

“Whenever I was feeling unpleasant feelings, that’s what I would turn to. And I’m like 90 pounds, so stuff like that really affects me … I started having liver problems and kidney problems. It was really affecting me mentally, too. Every time I was performing, even on those late-night shows, I was on something.”

Mental Illness Outbreak

On the heels of the pandemic, trauma, loss, and inequity pushed Los Angeles residents to fall into a mental health crisis. Ten percent of Los Angeles residents contemplated suicide in the past year alone, and 13.9 percent have experienced severe psychological stress. With many people experiencing so many mental stressors, the need for mental health resources and advocacy has become heightened. During the pandemic, the Did Hirsch center experienced a 13 percent increase in calls, chats and texts at their Suicide Prevention 24/7 English/Spanish Crisis Line.

A Step In The Right Direction

The recent proclamation is a step in the right direction, and with someone like Aiko as a face for the cause is a great way for people battling mental illness to feel heard. Celebrities like Aiko openly talking about their struggles with mental illness gives way for people to feel safe to open up and be vulnerable to people in their lives who can advocate for them and listen without judgment. This is a step towards removing the stigma that can often come with being someone with mental illness.

“As someone who has battled depression and anxiety, I’m deeply aware that Mental Health Is Health,” said Aiko. “I’m honored to be recognized and grateful to Didi Hirsch, the City of Los Angeles and Councilmember Raman for creating a culture of positivity surrounding mental health.”