May 1, 2024

Albany, NY: This May, join us in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month and the transformative power of peer support. Good mental health is essential—it enables us to care for ourselves and enrich our communities.

The recent pandemic has exacerbated issues like isolation and increased suicide rates, highlighting the urgent need for more accessible and effective mental health services. For nearly four decades, the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) has led the charge, advocating for robust peer support across service systems. We run many groups; all with the goal of empowering people to build connections and make informed decisions about their lives.

We urge elected officials and policymakers to engage with our community and center our experiences to shape better mental health policies. Despite our progress, many areas across New York State still face a severe shortage of peer services. Accessing available help remains a challenge due to our fragmented healthcare and service delivery system.

Peer support is a cornerstone in managing mental health, fostering resiliency and promoting recovery. By sharing personal experiences and providing mutual support, New York Certified Peer Specialists (NYCPS) are instrumental in promoting self-directed recovery. Education is equally vital, helping to dismantle stigma and enhance mental wellness.

At MHEP, we remain committed to advocating for human rights and policies that support our community and environment. This Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re doubling down on our commitment to those facing challenges within the system and spotlighting the critical role of peer support in creating a healthier, more integrated and supportive society.