May is Mental Health Awareness month. Lifespan.org says, "While it was first recognized in 1949, it has never been more pertinent than now to recognize the role mental health plays in our overall well-being and the value in raising awareness and helping those in need receive treatment."

Mental Health America says, "Mental health refers to our emotional and social well-being and impacts how we think, feel, and behave. It plays a role in connecting with others, making decisions, handling stress, and many other aspects of daily life. Everyone has mental health, and it deserves your attention just as much as your physical health does."

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Meridian Police Department "has wrapped a patrol vehicle with a green ribbon, a symbol of mental health awareness, and the slogan #StopTheStigma, a National Campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health and create hope for those impacted by mental illness. Meridian Mayor Simison, Meridian Police Department, Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline, Northpointe Recovery, Courageous Survival, and other key community partners are working together to focus on the mental health of Meridian residents."

In a press release Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea said, “Mental health impacts everyone in our community; every walk of life and every profession, even those who are here to help you. We often forget the only difference between our first responders and those we serve, is the uniform we wear. As a community, we need to be willing to have the tough conversations with our friends and family members to help break the stigma of mental health. Mental health is a concern in our community and we need to continue working towards finding better ways to support our loved ones."

There is an event on May 2nd from 11:00 to 11:30 am that is open to the public. It is in front of the Meridian Police Department at 1401 East Watertower Street in Meridian. The event will show off the new vehicle and let everyone know more about the new Crisis Intervention Team consisting of two new officers extensively trained to help aid 911 for mental health crisis calls. A much needed addition to the department and a great lead for other departments to follow. Meridian Mayor Robert Simison will be in attendance along with Meridian Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea and the new Meridian Police Department Crisis Intervention Team.

There are wonderful resources around the Treasure Valley for anyone who wants to learn or needs help. Click here for: Mental Health and Crisis Resources from Meridian Police Department.

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