Did you know that the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month? It seems to me that few people realize that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I believe that this speaks volumes about the long road we have to go regarding awareness, and therefore, the anti-stigma work, around mental health. According to Wikipedia, “Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949.” How is it that so many people are still unaware of its existence? It was just last April 22 that the New York Times ran an article titled, “US Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High”, yet it is almost as though you need to be a part of a secret club in order to find out that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Last year I remember having the conversation with a therapist at a Behavioral Health clinic who had no idea that May was Mental Health Month. I did a Google search today for “Behavioral Health Clinic” and of the first ten clinics/organizations that I clicked on, not one of them mentioned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. How ironic is it that so few people are aware of a month that has been dedicated to mental health awareness for 67 years?
What can you do? Here some thoughts that I have around supporting the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness month:
- Share your story in writing. There are many websites where you can share your story. Here are just a couple of them: Mental Health America and The Mighty.
- Request to set up a presentation at your company/organization to promote mental health awareness and support. NAMI has many affiliates that offer these services
- Post flyers at your work place that offer resources for those with mental illness
- Offer employees to share artwork and poetry and post them in a public location.
This is obviously a non-exhaustive list and I know there are many more ideas out there. Here are a couple of other resources with ideas on how to support Mental Health Awareness Month:
Do what you can to support the awareness of mental illnesses and the elimination of the stigma!
As always, you are encouraged to comment or respond to this blog entry.