Ways To Participate: Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a time when people all across the country come together to help spread awareness of mental illness through events and content. Its purpose is to let people know that they are not alone. The stigma surrounding mental illness can make it difficult for some people to seek treatment and get the help they need. People may feel shameful about the symptoms and struggles they are facing and might be embarrassed to seek help from mental health services for fear that others will find out. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are 1 in 5 adults in America living with a mental illness, and yet, a stigma still exists, causing people to feel like they may be the only ones. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity for people everywhere to come together and create change.
Here Are Some Ways That You Can Participate:
1. Educate Yourself On Mental Health And Wellness
Another way that you can participate in Mental Health Awareness Month is to educate yourself on topics around mental health. It may also mean learning about specific mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder, by reading a study on it.
Understanding mental illness in more detail can help you see how it can affect people’s lives and allow you to have more empathy for others. Your new knowledge might also help you overcome stigmas, misconceptions, or prejudice that you once had about mental health topics.
If you are unfamiliar with different mental health topics, you can spend time online doing personal research. There are many blog posts that you can read on a variety of subjects with enlightening statistics about the state of mental health care. There are also plenty of infographics to help you visualize these statistics. You can also check out sites like Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and the National Institute of Mental Health. Many different nonprofit organizations work to help spread awareness about mental health.
2. Talk To A Therapist
Another thing that you can do to take action during Mental Health Awareness Month is to speak with a therapist to address any mental health challenges that you’re facing in your life. Therapists can help you overcome mental illnesses as well as daily concerns like stress, troubled relationships, or poor time management. No issue is too big or too small to seek support for. You can ask your primary care provider to recommend mental health resources or behavioral health services to supplement talk therapy. If you are experiencing any challenges, consider making an appointment with a therapist during Mental Health Awareness Month to learn more about the strategies that you can use to improve in different areas of your life.
3. Focus On Self-Care
Self-care can play an important role in mental health. If you have not been practicing self-care habits, Mental Health Awareness Month can give you an opportunity to put them in place.
Self-care habits include things such as getting the proper amount of sleep, making healthy food choices, fitting regular physical activity into your schedule, and participating in activities that you enjoy, and that help recharge you. If you’re feeling burnt out and exhausted in life, adding self-care habits to your routine may give you the energy you need to carry on. You might journal, read a book, meditate, or do something else entirely. It’s all about finding an activity or two to help you to unwind and recharge healthily.
4. Support Those Around You
Mental Health Awareness Month can also be an opportunity to focus on seeing how you can support those that are around you. Mental health challenges can be different from physical challenges because you’re often unable to see that people are struggling with them. While you can see the physical condition of someone wearing a cast for a broken arm, someone living with depression may show no visible signs at all.
This is another reason why it can be beneficial to educate yourself on mental health. When you are familiar with the symptoms of common mental health disorders, it may help you identify the people in your life that are struggling. This doesn’t mean that you’re responsible for or able to fix anyone. Instead, it allows you to be there for them and can help you encourage them to seek support.
This could include helping them reach out for professional help from a therapist or making sure that you check in with them regularly to see if there’s anything you can do to support them.
6. Support A Mental Health Non-Profit Organization
Many different non-profit human services organizations strive toward mental health awareness. You can choose an organization that has a personal connection to you and find out how you can support them in their efforts. There are organizations for things like substance use disorder, depression, suicide prevention, children's mental health conditions, and many other specific focuses. These organizations need funding to have the motivation necessary to accomplish their goals.
7. Download The Free Toolkit From Mental Health America
Mental Health America has put together a mental health month toolkit to help all types of people improve their mental well-being while also building resiliency. This toolkit can be downloaded for free on their website. It includes information about managing your feelings, toxic influences, healthy routines, and how to find support by connecting with others.
8. Address Any Stigmas That You Have
You may be falling for the mental health stigmas that exist without realizing it. If you want to address mental health awareness, it can be important to look at yourself to see if you can identify any areas where you are contributing to the stigma that exists. This can include things like believing people with mental illness are more dangerous than others or feeling like they may not be as capable in the workplace. It can also mean supporting media such as TV shows that use stigmatizing language and behaviors, portraying people with mental health conditions as more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors or use drugs.
As you work on addressing behaviors and beliefs in your own life that are caused by the stigma surrounding mental health, it can help you to be more compassionate and empathetic toward those that are struggling. You can also help spread awareness around these issues.
Healthcare workers are often aware of the stigmas that surround mental health and work hard to offer support and care despite them. You can speak with a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or trained crisis counselor to get the help you need.
If you are struggling with a mental health challenge, look for any ways that you are allowing the stigma to negatively impact your own life. This could be through not getting the help that you need from a professional or being too afraid to take steps in your life toward a goal because you believe that it’s not possible due to your mental health.
Online Counseling With BetterHelp
While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it can still be important to include this topic in your everyday conversations. Each day can be a new opportunity to focus on your mental well-being and make improvements where needed. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that can connect you with a therapist from anywhere you have an internet connection. Being able to discuss your mental health in a safe, and convenient space may allow you to experience healing whether you’re talking to your therapist through video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging.
The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
Online counseling can be useful for treating a variety of mental health disorders. One study examined the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on psychiatric disorders like depression, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, phobias, chronic pain, and more. Researchers found that the intervention successfully reduced symptoms associated with various kinds of mental illnesses. CBT is a framework that encourages patients to replace their negative thoughts with more helpful ones.
Mental Health Awareness Month can give you an opportunity to pause and reflect on the state of your mental well-being. To recognize this important month, you might participate in a variety of events, reach out to a friend, or take care of yourself in new ways. Bringing attention to issues surrounding mental health can help break stigmas, encourage others to seek support, and raise awareness of different mental health concerns affecting people around the globe. As mental health awareness has grown, technology has advanced. If you’re looking for a convenient, and comfortable way to receive mental health care, online therapy could be an ideal resource to consider utilizing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Month Is National Mental Health Awareness Month?
In the United States, National Mental Health Awareness Month is held in May. It exists to raise awareness for trauma and mental wellness through national events.
Is October National Mental Health Month?
World Mental Health Day is observed worldwide in October each year. While similar but not the same, October is Depression and Mental Health Awareness Month. This is observed to encourage conversations around depression and learn how it can impact everyday life.
Why Is Mental Health Month In May?
While the reason this month was chosen may not be widely known, May has been observed as Mental Health Month in the United States since 1949. It was established to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and to celebrate growth and recovery.
What Day Is Mental Health Awareness Day In May?
In addition to National Mental Health Month, the United States celebrates National Mental Health Awareness Week from May 10th-16th.
Is January Mental Health Awareness Month?
National Mental Wellness Month is observed in January in the U.S. It is used to discuss the importance of mental and emotional health.
What Mental Health Month Is April?
April is Stress Awareness Month, which gives people an opportunity to learn about the prevalence of stress and the importance of healthy stress management techniques.
What Was The Theme For Mental Health Month 2021?
In 2021, the theme for Mental Health Month was "Tools 2 Thrive," which focused on practical tools and coping skills for anyone. In 2022, the theme was "Back to Basics," which recognizes that society experienced huge changes during the pandemic, and we may all benefit from foundational information about mental health.
What Mental Health Month Is November?
November is often recognized as Men's Health Awareness Month.
What Mental Health Month Is July?
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
What Mental Health Month Is October?
October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month.
What Was The Theme For Mental Health Day 2021?
In 2021, the theme for Mental Health Day was "Mental health in an unequal world.”
What Color Is The Ribbon For Mental Health?
In the U.K., a green ribbon is used to symbolize mental health awareness.
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