When it comes to mental health, May is more than just a month on the calendar. It’s Mental Health Awareness Month—a time dedicated to raising awareness, educating the public about mental health issues, and working toward creating a stigma-free society.
Of course, bringing awareness to mental health isn’t a one-and-done task. It takes work from each and every one of us, year-round. But that doesn’t mean that Mental Health Awareness Month isn’t an important time to bring attention to the cause. This year marks the 74th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month, so now’s the perfect time to step up your advocacy efforts in support of mental health.
So what can you do? In this blog post, we’ll walk you through seven actionable tips for raising awareness for mental health during May—and beyond!
History of Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month has been around for decades, having first been declared in May of 1949. It’s a powerful movement that brings attention to the fact that mental health matters as much as physical health. Mental illness and mental health problems are extremely common!
Unfortunately, these issues are still not discussed enough across society, leaving many feeling alone in their struggles with mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month is a chance to start conversations and break down the stigma around these issues. It is time to build a more supportive environment for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
What Is the Prevalence of Mental Health Issues?
Mental Health Awareness Month isn’t something that popped out of thin air! In fact, it has a deep history that dates all the way back to 1949. Since then, it has been celebrated annually in May and its focus has shifted over the years.
This year’s MHA’s 2023 theme is “Take some time to look around, look within,” where the Mental Health Month campaign is centered on how environments affect mental health and encourage individuals to take a close look at their surroundings and themselves.
The topics that are specifically addressed include:
- Safe and Stable Housing
- Healthy Home Environments
- Neighborhoods and towns
- The Outdoors and Nature
MHA wants to inspire people and help them understand the impact that these topics have on mental health. They will offer advice on how people can improve their environment for their well-being. And at the same time, they will provide suggestions for coping mechanisms if a change is not possible.
The Best Ways to Raise Awareness About Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Month is a great way to show support and understanding for people who are dealing with mental health issues. Raising mental health awareness can be achieved through various strategies and actions, such as:
Talking about mental health can be difficult, but it is a necessary part of ending the stigma and supporting those who are affected. You can use this opportunity to spread awareness by starting meaningful conversations and advocating support for those in need.
Take the time to educate yourself on the common signs and symptoms of different mental disorders. Learn how best to respond when someone expresses their struggle with a mental health issue. It is essential to have a basic understanding of mental health issues and relapse prevention techniques. By doing so, you can focus on providing support rather than spreading misinformation.
When someone opens up to you about their mental health struggles, it is important to listen with an open mind and without judgment or criticism. Validate what they are going through. Remind them that their feelings are valid and common among many people who experience mental illness.
It’s important that individuals who opened up about their struggles feel that they are not alone and that you can be part of their journey to recovery.
There are two strategies to raise public awareness of mental health issues.
- Participate in Events: Participating in virtual events, fundraisers, and town halls is a great way to raise public awareness. These give mental health advocates a platform to share their stories and build community. You can also use these events to educate yourself on the prevalence of mental health issues in different communities and find ways that you can help locally!
- Social Media Campaigns: Social media is an effective tool for raising awareness of mental health concerns and the value of getting treatment from a professional. You don’t need a large budget to make an impact on social media! By sharing other mental health campaigns or creating your own, you have the potential to reach thousands of people all over the world in just a few clicks. Plus, it’s free!
It is important to remember that mental health is a complex issue and it cannot be treated in isolation. We must look at the bigger picture and adopt a holistic approach to helping those affected. This means looking at family dynamics, environmental factors, and personal history to identify underlying issues.
In addition, it is important to remember the power of self-care. Taking care of yourself is often the most effective way to take care of others. This means eating properly, getting enough rest, exercising, and spending time with friends and family. By taking these simple steps, we can ensure that we are doing our part in raising mental health awareness in May and the months ahead.
Are you aware that, like physical health screenings, mental health screenings are also available? If yes, great. Otherwise, you are not alone. Many individuals are unaware that such things exist. Mental health check-ins help us to get in tune with our thoughts and feelings, and recognize when something is off. It also helps us identify potential triggers and warning signs of mental health illnesses. It gives us the tools we need to properly manage our mental health.
Checking your mental health can take time and it may not be easy. Ultimately, it is a process that will help you understand and take better care of yourself. Just like physical health, taking care of your mental health is important and should be a priority.
We can also promote mental health awareness through the language we use. Words can have real power and speaking kindly to ourselves and others can make a big difference in how we perceive our mental health. Shifting our language to be more compassionate, understanding, and forgiving can be a great way to foster a more positive mental health environment.
Some ideas for using kind language include:
- Reminding yourself and others that everyone makes mistakes and that it is okay
- Acknowledging that everyone is doing the best they can
- Practicing self-care and speaking positively about yourself
- Encouraging positive self-talk, such as noting accomplishments and celebrating small successes.
- Reaching out to someone if you need support
Creating a culture of understanding and kindness can help us all to better recognize and manage our mental health. By encouraging kind language, we can help create a more supportive environment and foster greater mental health awareness.
Mental health organizations often rely on donations from individuals like you to keep their operations running smoothly—so think about donating either time or money if you have the ability to do so!
Volunteer organizations and mental health facilities are often understaffed and under-resourced, so even a small donation of time or money can make a big difference in the lives of others. You can also volunteer to help with local events and fundraisers or work with organizations to create programs and initiatives that will help the community.
No matter how you choose to help, the most important thing is that you’re doing your part to support mental health awareness in your community. Making a difference in the lives of those around us is one of the most powerful things we can do, so let’s all do our part to help end the stigma around mental illness!
Receive Mental Health Treatment at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare
Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare helps raise awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month! We provide access to treatment options and resources to those who need them most. We offer a wide range of services, from counseling and psychotherapy to detoxification and residential treatment programs, allowing individuals to get the help they need to cope with their mental health issues. With expertise in various forms of addiction, Granite Mountain is equipped to address them all. Receive your treatment and contact us today! We’re prepared to help you and your family however we can.