May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health affects all of us. Whether we are experiencing problems ourselves, have a friend, coworker or loved one who is struggling, mental health issues surround us. We know that the concerns regarding child and adolescent mental health have been on the rise and only got more troubling during the pandemic. Talking about mental health helps promote acceptance and encourages people to seek help.

Self-care is important for mental health. Despite life’s stressors, there are many things that you can do to maintain positive mental health. Self-care looks different for each person, but may include exercise, maintaining social connections with family and friends, eating well, getting adequate sleep, and getting out in nature.

Mental health care is health care. Just as you would go to a physician or a hospital for a physical problem, caring for your emotional health is just as important. Whether we share resources, encourage others to seek help or simply are there for someone when they need us, we instill hope and can help others to reach out when they need it most. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) more than one in five adults experience mental illness, yet less than half receive treatment. At Local 4, we have resources that can help if you or a family member are experiencing substance use or mental health concerns. If you are concerned about your or a family member’s substance use or mental health, please reach out your primary care physician or our employee assistance program, Modern Assistance Program (MAP) at 617-774-0331.  For child and adolescent mental health, we offer Brightline, a virtual program for therapy,  coaching and psychiatry. Brightline can be reached at, 888-224-7332 or [email protected]. You may also see an in-network Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts provider for outpatient therapy.  In case of a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Additional emergency resources include:
  • 988 is the nationwide phone number to connect directly to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
  • Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line is available 24/7, 365 days/year via phone or chat for anyone experiencing a mental health emergency:  833-773-2445.  For more information:
  • Maine Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 888-568-1112.  For more information:
  • New Hampshire offers 24/7 crisis support at 833-710-6477 via phone or chat.  For more information:
  • Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S, 24/7.  A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives texts and responds. The website also has information on various mental health issues.