During May, Mental Health Awareness Month, Raise Awareness to Create Better Outcomes
By Deanna Elder, Director of Marketing & Communications, Polara Health
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, let us join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.
Let’s help to fight stigma, provide support, learn to take time for ourselves, seek professional help when we need it, and check in on family, friends, and neighbors.
The global pandemic has forced us to cope with situations we never imagined, and many of us struggle with our mental health. Throughout, people who have never experienced a mental health challenge now find themselves struggling for the first time.
There’s no way to predict or quantify the long-term impact of the global pandemic but we do know more people are discussing their mental health and well-being more freely. Our collective suffering over the past two years has provided the chance to break down some of the barriers and the stigma that have long surrounded mental illness.
With COVID-19, we are seeing more openness, more discussion, more willingness to talk about mental health challenges. Important messaging has been amplified during the pandemic on topics such as self-care, checking on your neighbors, family, and friends, and staying connected.
Have you ever looked out a dirty window through which you could hardly see, then wiped it clean and enjoyed the view? That’s the best way to describe when someone is facing a mental health challenge and then reaches out for help. When having difficulties that obstruct the quality of life, reaching out to family members, friends, local behavioral health organizations or a crisis line is important. It is also important to make adjustments in your daily routine and talk to your doctor when necessary.
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends, or co-workers. That is why each year, we encourage you to observe Mental Health Awareness Month during May. Help us to raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination, fight stigma and provide resources, information, and support.
We believe that mental health discussions are important year-round but highlighting them during May provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as a unified voice and to educate the public about mental health.
HOW TO OBSERVE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Take care of yourself. Life has numerous ups and downs. Some are solvable but others not so much. When your mental health acts up, seek the right treatment and make yourself better because, after all, life has much more to offer than just pain and suffering.
Take care of your loved ones. Check up on your friends and family. Many times, all people need is a shoulder to cry on and/or an ear to listen. Support and encourage them if they are being treated for any mental health problems.
Talk about mental health. One of the best ways to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month is by talking about it with your peers. The more you talk about it, the more normalized it will become. This is one of the aims of the month as the stigma attached to mental health has led to countless delays in treatment and research on the matter.
WHY WE LOVE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
It’s a celebration of mental health. The only way to enjoy life to the fullest and experience all its wonders is to take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. Don’t shy away from talking about what’s plaguing you because it might not be your fault, no matter how much society tells you otherwise.
It’s a celebration of changing attitudes. We have come a long way from the times when mental health patients were treated as outcasts, not only by their loved ones but also by medical professionals. Times are changing and more and more people are changing their outlook on mental illnesses. Join us in removing the stigma surrounding mental health challenges and encourage someone who is suffering to seek help.
It’s a celebration of humans. We are a set of meticulously-put-together details. Our minds and bodies work in harmony to bring us amazing feats. It is our job as a community to care for our neighbors, friends, and loved ones to create better mental health outcomes for the coming generations.
For more information, visit polarahealth.com.