FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
CONTACT: Ericka Dodge
Hannaford donates $400,000 to support mental health awareness and resources in New England and New York
Donation designed to meet increased need for mental health resources resulting from Covid-19 pandemic
Hannaford associates to recognize Mental Health Awareness Month by wearing green shirts and ribbons throughout May
Scarborough, ME – Hannaford Supermarkets and the Hannaford Charitable Foundation today announced a $400,000 donation to help build a strong network of resources for individuals affected by mental illness or mental health challenges throughout New England and New York.
The donation will support the work of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) branches in New England and New York 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.
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.
“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.”
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 throughout May. 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.
“We really wanted to create a platform for associates to be able to talk about their mental health just like they would talk about physical health,” said Molly Leopin, Hannaford store manager in Buxton, Maine. “We do some really great things in our stores to make our associates feel included and this is just another piece of that inclusion.”
The $400,000 donation will be distributed to NAMI affiliates in New England and New York as follows:
$100,000 to NAMI New Hampshire
NAMI New Hampshire will use the funding to expand access to family and peer supports and increase awareness of resources and information for Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide, including free educational programs and webinars for individuals, families, providers and community members.
“Hannaford has given Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide a truly transformational gift. Their leadership in raising awareness of mental health is commendable and will make a lasting difference in so many communities,” said Kristen Welch, Director of Development, NAMI New Hampshire. “We are deeply grateful for their support of NAMI New Hampshire.”
“The pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of Granite Staters across the lifespan, particularly in children, young adults, and older adults. It’s more important than ever for Granite Staters to know they are not alone and they can find help and hope – the good news is more and more people are reaching out for help,” said Ken Norton, Executive Director, NAMI New Hampshire. “Because of Hannaford’s generosity, NAMI New Hampshire will be able to bring no-cost education programs and support to thousands of individuals, families, and communities across the state.”
"NAMI NH provided a platform for me to speak frankly about my mental illness in a way that allows me to grow and recover. By changing the perceptions and stigma of mental illness, NAMI NH helps raise awareness and change attitudes,” said Todd Donovan, NAMI In Our Own Voice speaker/NAMI NH board member. “This organization means the world to me and my family.”
$100,000 to NAMI New York
NAMI New York will use the funding to support awareness and outreach around mental health and illness throughout the state, as well as an expansion of programs and services, including an interactive speaker series focused on topics such as mental health in schools; criminal justice and crisis response; multicultural mental health; and mental health in the workplace.
“NAMI-NYS applauds Hannaford’s commitment to supporting mental health in the community. Mental health conditions have become more prevalent than ever before, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the needs of those who are struggling. We are proud to partner with Hannaford to bring awareness and attention to mental health challenges and the available resources. Hannaford’s generous donation will have a significant impact on NAMI-NYS’s ability to deliver support and education to the local communities that both of our organizations serve, and we are so grateful for this substantial gift,” said Wendy Burch, Executive Director of NAMI-NYS.
$75,000 to NAMI Maine
NAMI Maine will use the funding to support a statewide mental health awareness and education campaign directed at reaching Mainers experiencing the greatest mental health needs, including individuals living in rural communities and young adults entering the workforce.
“Hannaford Supermarkets will be a major partner in helping Maine communities recover from the mental health hardships Mainers are facing because of the COVID pandemic,” said Nicole Vera, Chief Operating Officer. “Together we can re-build hope and strengthen our shared communities, so no Mainer struggles alone and without hope.”
“As we near the end of a very long and challenging pandemic period, now is the time to rebuild hope and strengthen the resilience of Maine’s citizens. NAMI Maine will use the generous support from Hannaford Supermarkets to strengthen the mental health supports and resources for some of Maine’s most vulnerable people,” said Greg Marley, LCSW, Director of Suicide Prevention. “We will expand our communities of care to increase the availability of NAMI Maine’s signature family education programs and support groups to Maine’s most rural communities. Through specifically targeting the needs of new families and youth and young adults, we will reach some of the people who have struggled most through the pandemic. This support will also enable and strengthen our ongoing support for healthcare workers and educators in this time of need. These efforts would not be possible additional funding; this is how we partner to support our communities.”
$75,000 to NAMI Massachusetts
NAMI Massachusetts will use the funding to support its family and peer education programs; support groups; and resource/information helpline. The donation will also provide funding for NAMI Massachusetts’ student and teacher school programs, as well as its criminal justice diversion projects.
“In this lingering pandemic and all the mental health problems it has created, this gift from Hannaford came at a crucial time for us as demand for our programs continues to increase. NAMI Massachusetts is grateful to Hannaford for the opportunity to help more people that this donation will provide not only for NAMI Massachusetts, but some of our local chapters where Hannaford has stores," said Karen Gromis, Deputy Director of NAMI Massachusetts.
$50,000 to NAMI Vermont
NAMI Vermont will use the funding 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 the Hannaford Charitable Foundation's invaluable donation and partnership with NAMI Vermont. We are looking forward to expanding our mental health resources, support and education throughout the Vermont communities where Hannaford Supermarkets are established. Hannaford's donation will truly make a difference to bring awareness about mental health and let people know that they are not alone,” said Laurie Emerson, Executive Director of NAMI Vermont.
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Month and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, visit www.nami.org.
About Hannaford Supermarkets
Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 183 stores in the Northeast. Stores are located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Hannaford employs nearly 30,000 associates. Additional information can be found at Hannaford.com.