May is National Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. This national month of recognition was established in 1949 to increase public knowledge about mental health issues and the impact that they have on many people’s lives, and today the tradition is still going strong! This is a month dedicated to helping yourself, helping others, finding ways to spread information, and fighting the stigmas that still surround mental health to this day. Here are some good ways to raise awareness and do your part to #EndTheStigma this May!
The harmful stigmas, societal pressures, and assumptions that come with mental health disorders are the result of decades of ignorance and misinformation. The only way to counteract those things is with knowledge! The ability to educate yourself and others about mental health is a powerful tool, so use it well this May.
You can research symptoms and signs of common mental health issues and read up on the ways that certain diagnoses can affect daily life and how to support people who struggle with them. When you know the truth, it’s easier to fight the negativity surrounding mental health!
Some of the most powerful work that’s been done to end mental health stigmas has been people from all walks of life being open and honest about what it’s like to live with their mental health problems, from A-list celebrities to ordinary people. Starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t mean that you have to say more about your own situation than you wish to or press someone else about theirs, but having a frank and honest discussion about mental health and being open to hearing what others have to say can be an amazing thing to do!
If there’s an active mental health community in your area that you can join, this can be a great start, but you can also just have a conversation with someone you know and love, helping to make it more socially acceptable to discuss mental health to begin with. Remember, all change starts small!
The stigmas and assumptions around mental health are what continue to make this issue difficult to deal with in the modern day, and the first step in breaking stigmas is noticing them. The many myths about mental health issues are still pervasive and oftentimes widely accepted, and being conscious of your own biases, assumptions, and even language can make a huge difference towards eradicating this form of prejudice.
Take Care of Yourself
Looking after your own mental health and finding ways to reduce stress, increase positivity, and advocate for yourself is one of the best ways to celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month this May! Whether or not you struggle with your mental health, this can be a useful and effective habit to incorporate year-round. Take a moment to reflect on your own recent mental state. Have you been low, or anxious? Dwelling on the past or fretting about the future? Prioritizing your own self-care can make a major difference in how you feel and how well you function, whether it’s adding mindfulness and meditation to your daily routine or taking a mental health day if you know you really need a break.
Raising awareness about mental health is something that’s worth doing all year round, but it’s especially important in May, so don’t waste this opportunity to learn and break stigmas! If you want to know more about mental health, you can continue reading our blog here at the Lehigh Center for Clinical Research for lots of valuable information and insight!