The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While more people actively acknowledge and talk about mental health, there is still a stigma against those who need help. This awareness month is all about educating your community about the importance of your mental health.
A Month All About Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Month starts on May 1st and lasts until May 31st. According to Youth.Gov, Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to spread awareness of how mental health impacts a person physically and emotionally and as a way to celebrate recovery from mental health disorders. During this month, many communities come together to educate about mental health and mental health disorders, working together to erase the stigma and gather resources to help those in need.
Many organizations will have different themes meant to spread awareness about mental health. This year, the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) is raising awareness with the theme “Together For Mental Health,” focusing on bringing the community together so that everyone can have access to care and support. Mental Health America’s 2022 theme is “Back To Basics.” This year they are supplying a mental health toolkit that provides foundational support for mental health.
Understanding Mental Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health consists of psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Your mental health can determine how you react to stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. Being aware of your overall mental health is essential because of how it can affect your overall health. Depression, for example, has been linked to diabetes and stroke.
Mental health disorders are a lot more common than people realize. Data from the CDC says that more than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. In the same article, the CDC also states that one in five Americans will experience a mental heath condition in a given year. Additionally, one in twenty-five Americans lives with a severe mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Covid and Mental Health
Mental health awareness is more critical than ever. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health. In June of 2020, it was reported that 40% of adults in the U.S. were struggling with mental health or substance use. Stay-at-home orders, negative reports from the media, and the loss of loved ones contributed to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation.
Those with certain mental health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. According to NIMH, those with schizophrenia are ten times more likely to contract and three times more likely to die.
How Awareness Helps
Erasing the Stigma
Since more people are beginning to talk about mental health, the stigma against those who have a mental health condition is slowly disappearing. However, we still have a long way to go. Hollywood still often depicts those with a mental health disorder as the terrifying villain in horror movies. The media still chastises celebrities with mental health conditions who find themselves in need of treatment. Families still hold off telling their children about their mental health history, letting generational trauma and hereditary mental health problems continue unresolved.
Education and awareness can help others understand themselves and the people around them. As a result, there is less fear of getting help early and more empathy for friends and family who are struggling with their mental health.
Being a Better Advocate
Awareness allows you to know how to help your community. You might have some empathy for those with mental health disorders, but education enables you to understand how you can support your loved ones. There might be certain beliefs you hold that don’t accurately fit the truth and get in the way of you being a true advocate for the mental health community.
Knowing more about mental conditions can also help you carry the torch in teaching others how to be better advocates. Spreading this awareness allows the community to be stronger together and provide better support.
Getting Help Early
Those who are aware of mental health will most likely become more aware of their own mental health. These people might have wondered why they struggle so much to handle stress or relate with others. They might have felt frustrated that they are behind others or why things are much harder. They don’t need to blame themselves, their strength, or their character. They learn that all they need is to reach out to the available resources and get the help they need. Awareness improves the quality of life for those who might not otherwise know what they need to do to get better.
Unfortunately, the stigma against mental health disorders is still strong despite advocates educating people on mental health and its importance. During the month of May, communities are working together to continue that education in hopes that it will positively affect policy and make resources more accessible to those who need them most. You can do your part as an advocate for mental health by talking to friends and family about mental health. Honest conversations help humanize the issue and give people a better understanding of the people around them who might be struggling the most.
If you would like to learn how you can be an advocate this month, contact Villa Oasis San Diego today to learn more about education and mental health. We are passionate about helping the mental health community and spreading awareness about mental health. Call us today at (323) 739-8673.