Mental health matters. Since its recognition as Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949, May is the month where attention is directed at addressing the many challenges millions of Americans living with mental illness face, where advocates and activists across the nation join forces and raise awareness of mental health issues. While libraries have often been considered resource centers and information hubs, these book buildings are safe havens for many Americans to find solace, and peacemaking libraries are great hosts for Mental Health Awareness Month. Joining forces in California are the LA County Library and the LA County Department of Mental Health, collaborating to prioritize mental health and build resilience for May. 

The power of libraries cannot be overstated, but it is sometimes forgotten in today’s chaotic and digital world. Authors across time have praised libraries for being miracles, full of treasures, and a necessity for life. The LA County Library is no exception, proving its deep commitment to all its neighbors’ mental health and well-being this month with its Mental Health Promoters Program. 

Dr. Lisa H. Wong, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, stated that the “LA County Library has 86 locations that serve as trusted safe spaces for families throughout the County.” Together, the two pillars of support for mental health have established the Mental Health Promoters Program, which aims to reduce mental health stigma in underserved populations. 

“The Library is a valued partner with the Department of Mental Health in supporting the well-being of Los Angeles County residents,” said Wong. “Throughout the year, and especially during May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, we look forward to sharing resources and information through our Mental Health Promoters Program stationed in various libraries across the County.”

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LA County Library Director Skye Patrick further explained that the Library’s mission is to support its visitors and that “by providing access to the tools and knowledge needed to prioritize mental health, the Library helps residents build a resilient future. The Mental Health Promoters Program is a key part of this mission, equipping the community with the resources and support they need.”

The Mental Health Promoters Program runs throughout this month at the Library, covering various mental health topics, including managing stress and neurodevelopmental disorders. Breaking the stigma and promoting wellness involves education and skill building, and workshop participants will gain a deeper understanding of challenging issues like anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, and family violence. The Library’s program will also cover heavy topics like bullying, child abuse, and suicide awareness in hopes that participants get a clearer picture of the many mental health challenges millions face. 

Helping to meet underserved community needs, the Library will also offer specialized workshops for immigrant communities that address their specific and unique needs while supporting them in navigating mental health issues they may encounter. 

But beyond workshops, the LA County Library further honors Mental Health Awareness Month through other opportunities designed to help reduce and improve mental health symptoms. The Library will offer yoga classes and craft-themed activities to help provide skills and support and educate participants on mental health matters.