Mental Health Awareness Month is every May and was established to increase awareness of mental health, mental illness, and overall mental wellbeing.
It was also started to take away some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Since 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, getting rid of the stigma is vital.
Throughout the month, there are multiple ways you can get involved to help spread awareness about mental illness. This is especially important during a pandemic when many people are dealing with challenging mental health issues.
History Of Mental Health Awareness Month
National Mental Health Awareness Month was first started in 1949 to help make people more aware of how important mental health is and to help celebrate those recovering from mental illness. It was started by the Mental Health America organization.
The organization comes up with a different theme every year. The theme for 2020 and 2021 is Tools 2 Thrive, helping people get through the pandemic with tools and techniques to keep themselves mentally healthy while dealing with so much stress.
Other organizations as well as the government get involved to ensure people know as much about their mental health as possible.
How To Get Involved During Mental Health Awareness Month
You can participate in Mental Health Awareness Month in a variety of ways:
- download the mental health awareness toolkit: Mental Health of American provides a toolkit with fact sheets on their website for anyone to use to raise awareness about mental health.
- Post on social media: Post about National Mental Health Awareness Month and why it’s so important.
- Spread word about screenings and treatment: Mental Health of America has several different screenings for multiple mental health conditions as well as links to different treatment centers you can share with others.
- Start a fundraiser: Start a fundraiser on Facebook, Twitter, or GoFundMe to raise money for a mental health organization.
- Call or email elected officials: Let your representatives know which mental health policies and proposals you’d like them to support.
- Suggest mental health initiatives in your workplace: Let your workplace know about the importance of mental health awareness and why it should be a priority in the workplace.
- Share your story: Sharing your struggles with mental health can help get rid of the stigma.
- Reach out to friends and family: Open up a conversation about mental health with your family and friends.
- Plan an advocacy event: Plan an advocacy event either with your work or on your own to gather mental health advocates, people with mental illness, and community leaders to advocate for better mental health needs for your community
Contribute To Mental Health Organizations
There are tons of different organizations you can contribute to by either donating your time or money. They all help promote or advocate for mental health in some way or another. Some of the organizations include:
- Mental Health America (MHA): This organization works to promote early prevention, diagnosis, intervention, care services, and support for those in need; they also provide mental health resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Local mental health services/facility: If there are mental health services or charities local to you, you can ask what they need either in donations or volunteer time.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI provides advocacy, education, support, and raises mental illness awareness for those affected.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): AFSP gives those affected by suicide a community-powered by research, education, and advocacy.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): This federal agency researches mental illness so it can be prevented or effectively managed.
- The Trevor Project: This organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ people under the age of 25.
- Child Mind Institute: This independent nonprofit is dedicated to changing the lives of kids and families who are struggling with mental health and learning disorders.
- Treatment Advocacy Center: This national nonprofit looks to eliminate the barriers to timely and effective treatment of mental illness.
- National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery: This organization gives those with mental illness a voice in the development of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): This international nonprofit looks to prevent, treat, and cure anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): DBSA provides help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, there’s never a wrong time to ask for help. Call our helpline today and discover the treatment options that are right for you.