May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to remove stigmas and attain wellness
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States — more than 43 million people — experiences a mental illness in a given year. A greater percentage of youth aged 13-18 (21 percent) suffers a severe mental health disorder at some point during their lifetime.
Mental illness does not discriminate, affecting men and women, boys and girls, of all ages, races and social classes.
Since 1949, the U.S. has recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month, with many organizations such as Interim, Inc., educating the public about mental health. The month of May becomes a time for organizations to band together and raise awareness about the realities of living with mental illness and strategies to attain wellness. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses.
Interim is the only agency in Monterey County that provides affordable housing, residential treatment, social support, homeless outreach and support, and supported education and employment services for adults who have serious mental illnesses.
Believing that housing, healing, and hope are a path to sound mental health, we offer services and programs to help those with mental illness build productive and satisfying lives.
During this time of Shelter in Place, we have been actively supporting our clients. Mental health services are “essential” under the current restrictions, and not only are we supporting our clients, we have stepped up our services:
- Moongate, the 90-unit project owned and operated by MidPen Housing in Chinatown in Salinas is open. Interim has partnered with MidPen to use 20 of these studio apartments for our MCHOME clients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have very low incomes.
- We continue to move clients into permanent and transitional housing during this time. The Community Housing staff, the Housing Management Team, MCHOME, Shelter Cove, Sunflower, and the Maintenance teams are working tirelessly together to house new tenants who desperately need housing.
- Our residential crisis programs at Manzanita Salinas and Manzanita Monterey continue to accept new admissions. This relieves the burden at our local hospitals by moving clients out of inpatient psychiatric beds allowing them to serve clients who need an in-patient level of hospitalization.
- Our MCHOME Team continues to reach out to the homeless in Monterey County, providing support and services, including food and temporary shelter when possible.
- Our ACT team continues to meet with clients in their homes and in south county, supporting those who have difficulties obtaining help because of language or distance barriers.
- The OMNI Resource Center on Pajaro Street in Salinas has temporarily closed due to imposed restrictions on groups larger than 10. This has affected the CHOICES, Dual Recovery Services (DRS), Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES) and Academy programs. Although the building is closed, staff continue to provide support services to these clients via telephone and one-on-one counseling while maintaining social distancing.
- OMNI has established a “Warm Line” where clients can call, text, or email a support worker if they need to talk to someone. This is staffed weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (831) 800-7660; TXT (831) 998-7916; email Omni@interiminc.org.
Anyone wishing to help in this effort, Interim, Inc., is accepting non-perishable food donations to help our clients during this difficult time. Drop-off sites are available in Monterey and Salinas. Please call (831) 649-4522 for locations.
If you wish to offer financial support, please call (831) 649-4522 X 205, or you may donate online.