According to a recent press release, a group of local community organizations has been meeting to strategize response efforts for those most vulnerable in our communities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Having identified mental health as a critical need for many, these organizations have come together, with the generous support of a $25,000 grant from the South Coast Community Foundation, to create a campaign in an effort to end stigma and strengthen mental health, aptly named Help and Hope Southcoast.

Our community is coming together like never before, raising awareness and providing resources to those suffering from mental illness along with support for their families. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50% of all Americans have been diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. This campaign will bring discussion and awareness to the forefront around the stigma that is too often associated with mental health. No one facing a mental illness should feel alone. To reach this goal, this group plans on increasing access to services and inspiring the community to check in with one another when they see people in need. The program is designed to bring all partners to the table with one voice of “Help and Hope” including social media presence, digital and print media, a website ( with links to resources and support groups and an extensive directory through Southcoast Resource Connect, an online behavioral health and community resource locator developed by Southcoast Health.

“We don't think twice when seeking help for a heart problem or other physical condition,” said Rev. David Lima, Executive Minister of the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford. “However, when it comes to mental health, we're embarrassed about what people will think. We all struggle with fears, anxiety, and depression at times. Most of us have coping mechanisms but for others, there is a need for added care. When you add the current difficulty of COVID-19, stay at home orders, food insecurities, these issues become heightened. We must end the stigma and help one another. Make a call, lend a hand, you just may be saving someone's life.”

By coming together, listening, and educating ourselves we can make a positive impact on those in our communities who are struggling and feeling alone, especially during these times of uncertainty and social distancing. Our team is growing every day and we want you! If you are willing to work with us to 'End Stigma and Strengthen Mental Health' by spreading the word through your networks, please join us."

Click HERE to see the groups that have been involved in the development of this process and more information.

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