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Richmond University Medical Center Marks May As Mental Health Awareness Month

May 18, 2022

Hospital Leadership, Community Leaders Tied Ribbons in Recognition of Those Struggling with Mental Illness

Since 1949, America has observed May is Mental Health Month. On May 17, Richmond University Medical Center leadership, staff, and community leaders tied ribbons around trees on hospital property to bring attention to the needs of individuals who struggle with mental health illness.

“Many individuals struggle with mental illness in silence and alone. Mental illness affects people of all ages, ethnicities, socio-economic status, and professions,” RUMC President and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, MPA, FACHE, said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Over the past year we have seen an increase in people seeking assistance for mental and behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, and substance use. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and is an opportunity to show the connection between physical and mental health, one doesn’t exist without the other.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States and 1 in 6 youth between the ages of 6 and 17 experiences a mental health condition in a given year. Richmond University Medical Center is the leading provider of behavioral health and substance use treatment programs on Staten Island for adults, adolescents and children. RUMC operates a dedicated and comprehensive outpatient Center for Integrative Behavioral Medicine located at 1130 South Avenue, the comprehensive psychiatric emergency department at RUMC is Staten Island’s only psychiatric emergency room with a Mobile Crisis program. The hospital’s inpatient psychiatric child and adolescent program is the island’s sole source for acute inpatient psychiatric services for children and adolescents, and the hospital administers numerous programs for children and their families through the Staten Island Mental Health Society, which is a division of RUMC. 

“This year’s theme for mental health awareness month is “Together for Mental Health.” Together we can bring our shared vision where those afflicted with mental illness can have access to the treatment and support they need to lead healthy lives,” Assistant Vice President for Behavioral Health Services, Joanne Pietro, RN said. “We at RUMC, stand together with our patients experiencing mental health issues and renew our commitment to improving access to care, treatment and services as well as providing the support they need.”

“Mental Health awareness should not be a celebration once a year, but should be recognized every day of the year,” Chairman and Medical Director of Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Joel A. Idowu, said. “The more we raise awareness about mental health, the more people are able to recognize mental health issues and seek treatment. The RUMC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science is fortunate to have well-trained, qualified and skilled clinicians and physician staff who provide high quality mental health treatment to those who come to RUMC to address their mental health issues.”

Joining RUMC leadership and staff to tie ribbons commemorating May is Mental Health Month was Dawn Clarity from Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis’ office.