Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued a proclamation on Saturday, recognizing the month of May 2021 as “Ńtsáhakees Silah’igii Baa ‘Áhaya – Navajo Nation Mental Health Awareness Month” to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the last year, we’ve experienced high levels of grief, trauma, uncertainty, and isolation that impacted our mental health. In many ways, the pandemic has magnified some of the modern-day monsters in our communities. We call upon our citizens to help transform the tragic and life-changing impacts of COVID-19 by protecting our health and well-being, physically and mentally. Also, let us strive to ensure people living with mental health conditions know they are not alone, that hope exists, and healing is possible through support and prayer. Our administration has partnered with the Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services to create a Mental Health Coalition to provide more outreach and support. Several weeks ago, the coalition began hosting virtual sessions devoted to breaking the stigma related to mental health illnesses and providing additional resources,” said President Nez.
The proclamation states that “Diné values and traditions, hold in high esteem, our teaching for mental, emotional, physical, and social health” and “mental health is part of overall health and helps to sustain our thought processes, relationships, productivity, and ability to adapt, to preserve, and to overcome adversity.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of Navajo citizens of all ages. It is more critical to reduce the stigma around the mental health struggles of others during the pandemic. Stigmatizing others often prevents individuals from seeking help.
“If you know of someone in your home or community struggling with mental health issues, lend a hand to get them help and support. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. As leaders, we also call on businesses, schools, government programs, health care providers, and organizations to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and recognize the need for adequate and accessible services,” said Vice President Lizer.
The proclamation recognizes that mental health is often life-threatening, and early detection and treatment can profoundly differentiate recovery and healing.
For more information regarding services and assistance, please visit the Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services website at: https://www.nndbmhs.org or by calling (928) 871-6240. The Navajo Department of Health also provides resources online at: https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19/Mental-Health-Resource. Support is also available through the National Suicide Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.