Wise Giving Wednesday: Mental Health Awareness

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calendar icon May 05, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (aka Mental Health Month). The stress, grief and anxiety associated with coping with COVID-19 for over a year are to be expected. A year ago, the pandemic caused nearly 100,000 American deaths which have since climbed to over 575,000. But we also need to be aware that these circumstances can lead to mental illness. In an article about COVID-19 and Mental Health the National Institute for Mental Health noted several weeks ago that “In the immediate wake of a traumatic experience, large numbers of affected people report distress, including new or worsening symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Most people will recover, though that recovery can take some time. A notable fraction of people will develop chronic symptoms severe enough to meet criteria for a mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depressive disorder.” Those who are experiencing stress symptoms should seek help and be open with their primary physician about the potential need for professional assistance, if warranted. Perhaps one of the silver linings of coping with COVID-19 is the increased awareness of mental health issues and the importance of obtaining help in seeking recovery. There is no vaccination for mental health.

For those seeking BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that address mental health issues, here are some to consider. Keep in mind that as organizations address these issues in different ways, we encourage potential donors to review the program descriptions appearing on their websites.

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.

Also, there are a number of veterans and military service organizations that address mental health issues. Some of the veterans groups, such as Wounded Warrior Project and Military with PTSD address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

If you or someone you know is at 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

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring an interview with Dr. Neal D. Barnard, President of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (a BBB Accredited Charity) an organization that reports it combines its more than 12,000 physicians with its 175,000 members to promote nutritional interventions to prevent and combat chronic disease and advocate for technological advances in medical research and toxicology to replace the use of animals. Its primary care clinic, the Barnard Medical Center, specializes in diet-related chronic disease and integrates nutrition counseling into patient treatment protocols. The organization also works with governments, academics, corporations, and other stakeholders to devise alternatives to animal testing, press for global adoption of these methods, and train scientists in how to use them.

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 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

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