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Wise Giving Wednesday: Mental Health Month

May 27, 2020

Before the close of May, we wanted to take a moment to recognize that this is Mental Health Awareness Month (aka Mental Health Month). While this important cause has received more attention over time, this year, more than most, we are reminded of its significance. The stress and anxiety over COVID-19 would be difficult enough in view of the nearly 100,000 American deaths but the continuing vigilance to reduce its spread and practice social distancing has contributed to new mental health challenges. Evidence of this was demonstrated in the COVID Impact Survey, a study completed by NORC (National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago which seeks to “provide national and regional statistics about physical health, mental health, economic security and social dynamics in the United States.”  Among other things, the survey shows that about six in ten Americans have experienced strong negative emotions during the coronavirus pandemic such as anxiety, depression loneliness or hopelessness. Younger people appear to be more vulnerable with about 70% of people under 45 indicating these symptoms as opposed to 53% of those 45 and above.

Here are three BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that have sought to help increase awareness of mental health issues. While BBB Wise Giving Alliance does not recommend any specific charity addressing mental illness, contributors might consider, among other things, the type of program service(s) the organization supports (such as education, treatment, and/or research) and what population is being served by these activities.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (aka NARSAD) operates a grant program that funds scientific research into the causes, treatments, cures and prevention of chronic and severe mental illnesses including depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mental Health America works to promote mental health as a part of overall wellness. Mental wellness includes prevention services, early identification and intervention, and integrated care services through advocacy, education, and research. The organization states that it collaborates with its 169 affiliates, supporters, and policymakers to advance federal legislation, regulations, and agency activities that promote its policy statements.

NAMI seeks to build better lives for Americans affected by mental illness through advocacy, awareness, education, and support. The organization's trained volunteers oversee free peer-led education programs, skills training, and support sessions to community members.

In addition to these charities, there are other organizations that have been active in addressing mental health issues including a number of veterans and military service organizations. Some of the veterans groups, such as Wounded Warrior Project and Military with PTSD address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The following link includes a more complete list of veterans and military services organizations that are BBB Accredited Charities. Review the program descriptions of these charities to identify those that address mental health matters.

If you or someone you know is as risk for suicide, seek help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org which is funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


Video of the Week

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance is proud of our network of trusted accredited charities, which are rising to the challenge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in innovative ways to safely serve us all. In this week's video highlight, Art Taylor is joined by Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., Chief Executive Officer at NAMI, to talk about how his organization is facing the challenge.


Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to www.give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance