Dear Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray,
Thank you for your personal commitment and leadership in making mental health a top priority of your administration and the city of New York. With your support, more than 90,000 New Yorkers have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, more than 800 are certified Mental Health First Aid Instructors and even more will get the treatment and care they need.
One of the 90,000 First Aiders in New York is Carmen Pineda. Carmen lost her brother to suicide more than 10 years ago. Now, years later, Carmen is trained in Mental Health First Aid and was able to immediately recognize the signs and symptoms of depression when her daughter faced a broken engagement.
“She seemed affected, down and discouraged,” she said. “I asked her the question, ‘Do you want to kill yourself?’” Carmen was able to do something that a lot of people struggle with – have an honest conversation. As a result, she helped her daughter start therapy and access ThriveNYC’s many mental health resources. She saved her daughter’s life.
Carmen is one of thousands of First Aiders in New York and nationwide who are breaking down barriers that often stand in the way of responding to mental health challenges, including access to resources and stigmas. By leading the conversation and empowering community leaders to get trained in Mental Health First Aid, you are providing Carmen and others with a path of hope and opportunity to support those who may be struggling.
We commend your countless efforts and look forward to working with you to continue expanding the mental health system in New York and nationwide. Together, we can make a difference across the country and make mental health a priority for everyone.
1.5 million Mental Health First Aiders