County of Marin - Press Releases - May is Mental Health Awareness Month

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2014

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Healthy Individuals Make Healthy Communities

San Rafael, CA – Mind Your Health — this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month — calls attention to the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness.

“We all know someone, a friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker, who has experienced some level of psychological distress. It could range from mild depression to schizophrenia,” said Suzanne Tavano, Ph.D., Marin Mental Health and Substance Use Services Director.

Tavano said whatever the degree, though, untreated mental health conditions take away from quality of life by impacting our physical health, personal relationships, ability to perform well at work and school, meet personal goals or find enjoyment in what we do. Unfortunately, there often is reluctance to seek help because of embarrassment and concern of being viewed differently.

There is so much derogatory language used all around us about mental health conditions that there is fear of being viewed differently by others if we acknowledge any psychological difficulties. The tendency in the media to sensationalize acts of violence by persons with mental illness greatly over-shadows the reality that the very great majority of people with mental health conditions, including those with very serious conditions, are not violent and do not commit crimes. In fact, persons with serious mental illness more often are the victims of crime than the perpetrators.

Reducing stigma about mental illness goes a very long way in supporting people to seek the help they need. Healthy individuals make healthy communities. So, in celebration of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, let us embrace the concepts of hope, recovery, resiliency and that each mind matters. Let us not contribute to discriminatory language or behavior towards persons with mental illness.

Let us recognize the hard work that persons with mental health issues put into their healing, support them in seeking treatment, and celebrate the victories they achieve. Treatment does work. We see it every day.

A very rich and informative website for information about mental health and the statewide initiatives to prevent suicide, eliminate stigma and discrimination, support school mental health programs, and promote prevention and early intervention is A very helpful and engaging website for youth is

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, check out the video featuring Marin Health and Human Services program staff and clients.


Suzanne Tavano
Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
Suite 105
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-6809
Email: Suzanne Tavano
Marin HHS website