WILLISTON — Hannaford and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation are jointly announcing a $50,000 donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Vermont to help build a strong network of resources for individuals affected by mental illness or mental health challenges throughout Vermont.
The $50,000 donation will help support NAMI Vermont’s efforts to raise awareness and conduct outreach around mental health and illness throughout the state. NAMI Vermont provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness to individuals and families affected by mental illness.
The donation is one part of an overall $400,000 commitment from Hannaford to support the work of NAMI branches in New England and New York as they work to expand mental health programs and services to individuals and families most directly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including frontline workers, parents, young adults, and the elderly.
“Mental health is integral to the health and well-being of our associates, our families and our communities. By raising awareness and reducing stigma, we hope that more people will talk about their mental health experiences or seek help or support,” said Nicole Devoe-Lewis, senior vice president of retail operations and member of the Hannaford Charitable Foundation. “We thank the National Alliance on Mental Illness for their dedication to making affordable mental health support more accessible to all individuals.”
In addition to using the funding to support mental health awareness and outreach, NAMI Vermont will work to enhance mental health services and programs throughout Vermont, including virtual support groups and educational programs for family members, partners and friends of individuals living with mental illness or experiencing substance abuse.
“We are extremely grateful for Hannaford Supermarkets and Hannaford Charitable Foundation’s invaluable donation and partnership with NAMI Vermont,” said Laurie Emerson, Executive Director of NAMI Vermont. “We are looking forward to expanding our mental health resources, support and education throughout Vermont. Hannaford’s donation will truly make a difference to bring awareness about mental health and let people know that they are not alone.”
The announcement coincides with a time of increased need for mental health resources resulting from the pandemic, which brought numerous emotional and physical challenges, including social isolation; illness and death; job loss; and feelings of fear and anger.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S adults are experiencing elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with Covid-19, including increased depression and anxiety. The CDC also found that the number of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4 to 41.5 percent; while the percentage of individuals reporting unmet mental health care needs increased from 9.2 to 11.7 percent between August 2020 and February 2021.
Throughout May, Hannaford associates will recognize Mental Health Awareness Month and the importance of destigmatizing mental illnesses by wearing green shirts and ribbons signifying the color associated with mental health awareness. These in-store efforts will occur in concert with a month-long awareness campaign designed to empower leaders and associates with the tools they need to identify and manage mental health, wellness and safety as a community of care.