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May 23, 2024

Montefiore Holds Series of Bronx Events in Recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month

Bronx, NY – May 23, 2024 No longer a “silent struggle,” hundreds of Bronx residents and families impacted by a wide range of conditions that affect, mood, thinking and behaviors, participated in Montefiore Health System events held throughout the last two months in recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness Month. Event topics were requested by community members and led by Montefiore’s department of Psychiatry and its Office of Community & Population Health (OCPH).

“These events were incredibly emotional and inspirational as each one was informed by individual neighborhoods expressing what was most important to them – ranging from mindfulness to distress to victimization and violence,” said Liz Spurrell-Huss, MPH, MSW director, Health Equity Programs, OCPH. “Each event was different, but every time we were moved by how open and engaged everyone was about topics that are often highly stigmatized and hard to discuss.”

The events were held in partnership with local community-based organizations, including:

  • Breaking Ground - Park House, La Central, Boston Road
  • Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA)
  • Pastoral Migratoria Saint Antony Of Padua Church
  • Presbyterian Senior Services (PSS) Life University
  • Regional Aid for Interim Needs (RAIN): Middletown Center, Gun Hill Senior Center, Tolentine Senior Center and Parkchester Senior Center
  • Riverdale Senior Services: Schervier Apartments, Marble Hill Senior Center
  • Luke Episcopal Church


"Hearing each person’s stories, struggles and triumphs out in the community is an honor – and it is an essential step in bringing people who need mental health support into treatment,” said Dr. Ana Ozdoba, director, Psychiatry Residency Training, Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “It was also an invaluable experience for our psychiatry residents, who are newer to the field, as it reinforces why we are here in the Bronx and the importance of community partnerships in addressing today’s mental health crisis.”  

To close Mental Health Awareness Month, the Montefiore Child Outpatient Psychiatry Division led by Dr. Jenny Seham, partnered with HearYourSong, a nonprofit that empowers children and teens with serious illnesses and complex health needs to make their voices heard through songwriting, will present a concert featuring original songs about topics ranging from friendship to struggling with depression.

Seham, who serves as Director, Arts and Integrative Medicine and Montefiore Einstein’s Youth Empowerment Series (YES), expressed, “Children in our community are feeling unprecedented levels of sadness and hopelessness; students of color are at elevated risk for increased stress, anxiety and depression. YES highlights the strength, resilience, and creativity of local youth through arts performances and exhibits. Their songs have a powerful impact on themselves and the audience; the concert is a true community healing experience.”

Montefiore is a designated Behavioral Center of Excellence by the New York State Office of Mental Health and earlier this year, announced plans create a new pediatric inpatient psychiatry unit in the Bronx.


About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 10 hospitals, including the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospitaland more than 200 outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn, or view us on Facebook and YouTube.


About Albert Einstein College of Medicine 

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2023-24 academic year, Einstein is home to 737 M.D. students, 209 Ph.D. students, 124 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and approximately 239 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 2,000 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2023, Einstein received more than $192 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in cancer, aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. For more information, please visit, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and view us on YouTube