Throughout the month of May, the City of Santa Monica will focus on destigmatizing conversations about mental health by raising awareness through a series of free events and activities that feature local mental health resources. As highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and physical health are inextricably connected. By having a better understanding and discussing the various challenges faced by many struggling with mental health, the City is able to elevate the resources available to support those individuals. 

“Access to mental health and suicide prevention resources is critical to the well-being of all of us. My personal connection to this topic after my nephew’s suicide 18 months ago only fuels my desire to amplify our conversations around mental health,” said City of Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “Only by having these frank conversations and improving our ability to connect people to resources can the City improve and hopefully save the lives of individuals battling mental health crises.” 

Community event highlights include:  

April 26 – Mental Health Awareness Month Proclamation: City Council presented a proclamation to Disabilities Commission Chair Alex Elliott proclaiming May as Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Throughout May – Mental Health Reading Challenges and Book List: The Santa Monica Public Library will offer month-long reading challenges for teens and adults (https://bit.ly/3KnXH46), in addition to a curated mental health reading list (https://bit.ly/3KlrR83) for all ages.  

May 14 – Kidical Mass Family Bike Ride at Ishihara Park – Kids through Seniors: A family-friendly bike ride (https://bit.ly/3kiXqF6) with community partners offering information and activities focused on mental health and wellness. Includes pancakes and an activity at the learning garden. 

May 21 – NAMI Mental Health and Wellness Event at 3rd Street Promenade: The National Alliance on Mental Illness Westside LA (https://bit.ly/39nx0j9) is hosting musical performances by local students, a workshop to uplift youth voices, a celebration of service awards, and resource booths with giveaways. 

May 27 – Inside Out  Movie Screening at Virginia Avenue Park: An outdoor movie screening of Pixar’s Inside Out. Come early to explore community resources and enjoy a free chair massage (sponsored by the Coalition of Asian & Pacific Employees in honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (https://bit.ly/3Lq0WJF).   

For the full list of Mental Health Awareness Month events, activities and community resources in Santa Monica, visit santamonica.gov/blog/may-is-mental-health-awareness-month. To access Mental Health Awareness events across Los Angeles County throughout the month of May, visit dmh.lacounty.gov/event/we-rise-2022/.  

Submitted by Miranda Iglesias, Interim Public Information Officer