Emotional Support Human Etiquette is a community initiative of the Horizon Foundation that offers practical tips for reaching out and showing support to those living with emotional or mental health challenges.

We know people in Howard County care and want to show support to their friends, family and community members experiencing mental health challenges, but often don’t know how – or are afraid of doing the wrong thing.

This campaign provides suggestions on ways to start conversations, create a safe space for having those discussions and offer practical help.

About the Horizon Foundation

The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at thehorizonfoundation.org.

Why We Show Support – Mental Health Stigma

Stigma around mental health continues when we don’t talk about it. This can be both social stigma and self-stigma. Social stigma involves negative feelings toward individuals with mental health problems – like thinking negatively of someone taking medication for depression.

Self-stigma is the internalized feeling of discrimination by a person with mental health challenges – for example, feeling like you are being judged as strange for going to counseling. While many of us here in Howard County don’t think there is anything wrong with having a mental illness, failing to reach out and talk openly can further self-stigma and impact those living with these challenges.

Mental Health Affects Us All

Mental health challenges are very common. More than 50 percent of individuals will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Twenty percent of Americans experience mental illness every year, and one in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness. Ninety percent of those who die by suicide had an underlying mental illness, and the average delay between the onset of symptoms and receiving treatment is eight to 10 years.

The Emotional Support Human Etiquette campaign empowers residents to reach out and show support to those living with emotional and mental health challenges. In this way, together we can battle stigma and encourage those needing support to reach out for help.

I want to be an Emotional Support Human!

Good Human! Join us and sign the pledge to become an Emotional Support Human. You’ll join a growing group of people in Howard County who care, and you’ll receive a downloadable copy of tips and details on Emotional Support Human etiquette.