Hannaford associates will recognize Mental Health Awareness Month in May and importance of destigmatizing mental illnesses by wearing green shirts and ribbons signifying the color associated with mental health awareness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased need in resources for those struggling with mental health issues. To help, Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation have donated $400,000 to build a strong network of resources for individuals affected by mental illness or mental health challenges throughout New England and New York.
The donation will support the work of Arlington, Virginia-basedNational Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) branches to expand mental health programs and services to individuals and families most directly impacted by the pandemic, including frontline workers, parents, young adults and the elderly.
The pandemic has negatively impacted people's mental health, resulting in numerous emotional and physical challenges, including social isolation; illness and death; job loss; and feelings of fear and anger.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S adults are experiencing elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19, including increased depression and anxiety. The CDC also found that the number of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4 to 41.5%; while the percentage of individuals reporting unmet mental health care needs increased from 9.2 to 11.7% between August 2020 and February 2021.
“Mental health is integral to the health and well-being of our associates, our families and our communities. By raising awareness and reducing stigma, we hope that more people will talk about their mental health experiences or seek help or support,” said Nicole Devoe-Lewis, SVP of retail operations and member of the Hannaford Charitable Foundation. “We thank the National Alliance on Mental Illness for their dedication to making affordable mental health support more accessible to all individuals.”
Hannaford associates will recognize Mental Health Awareness Month and the importance of destigmatizing mental illnesses by wearing green shirts and ribbons signifying the color associated with mental health awareness throughout May. These in-store efforts will occur in concert with a month-long awareness campaign designed to empower leaders and associates with the tools they need to identify and manage mental health, wellness and safety as a community of care.
“We really wanted to create a platform for associates to be able to talk about their mental health just like they would talk about physical health,” said Molly Leopin, Hannaford store manager in Buxton, Maine. “We do some really great things in our stores to make our associates feel included and this is just another piece of that inclusion.”
The $400,000 donation will be distributed to NAMI affiliates in New England and New York as follows:
$100,000 to NAMI New Hampshire: NAMI New Hampshire will use the funding to expand access to family and peer supports and increase awareness of resources and information for Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide, including free educational programs and webinars for individuals, families, providers and community members.
$100,000 to NAMI New York: NAMI New York will use the funding to support awareness and outreach around mental health and illness throughout the state, as well as an expansion of programs and services, including an interactive speaker series focused on topics such as mental health in schools; criminal justice and crisis response; multicultural mental health; and mental health in the workplace.
$75,000 to NAMI Maine: NAMI Maine will use the funding to support a statewide mental health awareness and education campaign directed at reaching Mainers experiencing the greatest mental health needs, including individuals living in rural communities, young adults entering the workforce, and healthcare workers and educators.
$75,000 to NAMI Massachusetts: NAMI Massachusetts will use the funding to support its family and peer education programs; support groups; and resource/information helpline. The donation will also provide funding for NAMI Massachusetts’ student and teacher school programs, as well as its criminal justice diversion projects.
$50,000 to NAMI Vermont: NAMI Vermont will use the funding to enhance mental health services and programs throughout the state, including virtual support groups and educational programs for family members, partners and friends of individuals living with mental illness or experiencing substance abuse.