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The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA hope that you and your family are staying safe and well during this challenging time.

Approaching 2021, we reflect on a sea of change. The social isolation and uncertainties of Covid-19 have intensified the mental health crisis already facing our country. Prior to the pandemic, The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) reported that 1 in 4 Americans, 46.6 million, experienced a mental health disorder in any given year. Today, that number has tripled, with millions more now suffering from anxiety, depression and substance abuse disorders. One of the most alarming statistics is that 1 in 4 young people, between the ages of 18 through 24, now report having suicidal thoughts.

The Friends of Semel, the non-profit support group for the world-renowned Semel Institute is dedicated to raising awareness and erasing the stigma of mental illness. Stigma remains the single biggest factor in preventing a person from asking for the help they need and deserve, that can result in devastating outcomes such as suicide or drug overdose.

Your generous support of The Friends has enabled us to:

  • Present the Open Mind Community Lecture and Film series, free to the public, to raise awareness and erase the stigma of illnesses of the mind and brain.

  • Support early career neuroscientists through our Friends Research Scholar Program, and our newly established Friends of The Semel Institute Chair for junior faculty

  • Engage Los Angeles County high school students through our newly launched Open Mind Film Festival for mental health

In order to continue our commitment to support mental health education and research, we need your help. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes several tax provisions for charitable giving. If you haven’t already done so, please consider making your 100% tax-deductible donation today.

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You may also contact Wendy Kelman at 310-795-5376 or wkelman@mednet.ucla.edu.

We remain grateful for all the support you have provided our organization. We wish you and your familiy a safe and healthy New Year.