May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In 1949, Mental Health Month was set up in order to raise awareness about different aspects of mental health including the importance of good mental health and its connection to overall health in the lives of all Americans.
Since its inception, through events and materials developed to support these awareness efforts, a broader nationwide audience is shown that for many individuals a diagnosis is not a sentence to a limited and unproductive life, but through advancements in mental health care, treatment works, and prevention is effective.
Various educational efforts which started at the federal and local government level have given a lot of home to both those who suffer with mental health issues, and also to their family by increasing individuals’ understanding around conditions, treatment, and prevention.
Another major focus in raising awareness is to address, break, and dismantle the stigma around mental health issues and their treatment. The stigma can be harmful for the person who has had a diagnosis because of how it can add to their anxiety because of how they see themselves, or how they believe others may perceive them.
The other angle that requires attention in the drive to break the stigma is where the stigma exists in the hearts and minds of people who are not personally affected by mental illness. This group of people are sometimes lacking in a more complete understanding about specific disorders, and as a result can be nervous around certain people, or even find it an uncomfortable conversation topic.
Each year, the month of May is a time for a focused effort across the country where different mental health month events are held, and where people will see the conversation more frequently in person and on all social platforms. It is common to see social media posts from entities like ourselves or government agencies that share
Mental health statistics
Reminders to take time to look after your own mental health
Finding healthy ways to handle anger and frustration
Tips for dealing with change
Highlighting the difference between healthy thought patterns and less constructive ones
Other activity often seen during mental health month includes encouragement to pledge to participate in various advocacy activities, and to consider making a donation to a mental health non-profit.
The main message for people who suffer or have a diagnosis is to remind them that even if they have no support within their family structure, or group of friends, that they are not alone, and that support and understanding is available. One way to help communicate this to people is through reading other peoples stories, and if you have a story about your own mental health, or that of a family member that you think will encourage others, please consider sharing it with us here.
This month, we encourage you to take some time to learn a little more than you already know, and as a result of you learning more, we hope you can care more and help more.
Also, please consider visiting the pages listed under the Awareness link in the top navigation on our website. The different pages include: