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May 2024 is Mental Health Awareness Month



Every year since 1949, we have celebrated Mental Health Awareness Month in May. This is a time to educate ourselves and others about the mental health issues that so many people in our society are facing on a daily basis. Through education, we raise awareness, create acceptance, and advocate for better mental healthcare for all.


Mental Health America is proud to have founded Mental Health Month in 1949. Every May, their organization comes together to continue the tradition of promoting awareness, offering vital resources and education, and advocating for the mental health and well-being of everyone. This year's theme is Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World. 

Accessing mental health services can, unfortunately be difficult for many of us who have mental health disorders. 'Often, there are long waits to get a therapist or psychiatrist if you need one. Insurance may not cover your visits, or you may not have access to insurance.



If you want to get mental healthcare and you don't have insurance, you can access resources such as Medicaid, or community mental health services which provide a sliding fee scale. If you need immediate assistance, you can call a local crisis line, or call 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


If you are outside the US and need a suicide hotline number, you can find them here, along with additional mental health blogs and resources.


According to this Proclamation from the White House, here is some additional information from the Biden Administration:


Each one of us has a role to play in changing the narrative and ending the stigmatization of mental health issues.  We can start by showing compassion so everyone feels free to ask for help and learning the warning signs of emotional distress and suicide.  If you are facing a crisis, dial 988 to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.  If you are a new or expecting mother, you can call 1‑833‑TLC-MAMA for confidential advice on mental health from a professional.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or just need someone to talk to, ask your health care provider, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1‑800‑662‑HELP, or visit FindSupport.gov.  To anyone struggling with mental health, know that you are not alone.  As Americans, we have a duty of care to reach out to one another and leave no one behind.  We are all in this together.

Please know, if you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. 1 in 5 Americans has a mental health disorder. We can all come together in the mental health community to help each other, provide support and resources, and share our stories so that others struggling in the future will have a guidepost for where to find help.


Life can be difficult at times, both on a personal level and on a wider social scale. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are seeking mental health treatment than ever. We have all undergone a collective trauma in coping with the pandemic and its aftermath. It is natural to feel unnerved at times by all the changes.


Our world isn't the same as it was when we were children. It isn't the same as even a couple of years ago. Technology is expanding, there is increased globalization with the internet, inflation is rising, there is political unrest, and war across the world. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the changes.


In addition to all these global changes, the Surgeon General announced last year that the US is suffering an Epidemic of Loneliness. Not only have our villages grown smaller, in some cases they are non-existent. The expectation that we receive support from family or friends in times of crisis has become unrealistic for many of us. We are increasingly alone.


All of these factors can contribute to mental health problems, or exacerbate the ones we already have. When you are struggling with your mental health, reaching out is key!


I know calling the suicide hotline might not be a quick fix to all your problems. I have been there myself; back in January I was in an inpatient crisis care treatment program. If you call the hotline, they can refer you to a local crisis center. There, you can talk to someone about what is going on, and receive referrals to additional services. They can help you find a treatment program that is right for you.


You aren't going to get better overnight, but the sooner you get started on the path toward healing, the sooner you are going to be able to put your life back together in a way that works for you.



Whether you have a mental health condition yourself or not, advocacy is an important part of Mental Health Awareness Month. In order to reduce stigma and shame that still exists around mental health, having more people speak up and normalize seeing treatment is important.


SAMHSA provides a helpful Mental Health Awareness Month Toolkit where you can download shareable graphics, and sample social media captions to go with them; NAMI provides a toolkit as well.




Whether you use the sample graphics or your own, sharing information about mental health throughout the month of May is a powerful way to engage with the mental health community, and spread awareness through society through social networking.


You can also get involved more personally by having conversations with friends or family members, attending seminars on mental health, getting certified in Mental Health First Aid, volunteering at mental health organizations, or making donations.


Personally, I believe the most important thing that all of us can do to assist others with their mental health is to be kind. The more kindness we show to the people we come in contact with each day, the more we show we care and are willing to listen, the more we make the world a better place for everyone.


They say, you never know what silent struggles someone else is going through. That means, treating everyone with kindness may be making a difference to someone who is silently struggling. Connection with others can make a big impact for mental health. So, forging strong connections with the people in our lives, letting them know they are loved, and letting them know that we are safe people who will listen allows the ones we care about to come to us for help.


Asking for help is scary. It makes you vulnerable. And, as someone with a mental health condition it can be exceedingly difficult to reach out and self-advocate. So if someone comes to you and tells you they are struggling, be kind. That is the best possible thing you can do.





For more information, you can check out this guide with links to mental healthcare resources:


Let me know what you think in the comments, what you are doing for Mental Health Awareness Month, and what topics you would like me to cover here on the blog.




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