Mental Health Awareness helps reduce the stigma around seeking treatment for mental health challenges. The month of May is dedicated to creating awareness around mental illness and making resources more readily available to those who need them. This type of awareness is even more important this year with the effects of COVID-19 and the major lifestyle adjustments people have had to make to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Achieving and maintaining balance in your mental health is critical for your overall well-being.
Various organizations work together to combine their resources to reach more people. Since mental health is still stigmatized as something you shouldn’t talk about or receive treatment for, creating awareness is key. A few notable organizations that participate are:
- Mental Health America
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
These organizations decide on a theme each year to help tailor and diversify the information they make available to the public. Previous themes include:
2008 – Get Connected
2009 – Live Your Life Well
2010 – Live Your Life Well
2011 – Do More for 1 in 4
2012 – Healing Trauma’s Invisible Wounds
2013 – Pathways to Wellness
2014 – Mind Your Health
2015 – B4Stage4
2016 – Mental Illness Feels Like
2017 – Risky Business
2018 – Fitness #4Mind4Body
2019 – #4Mind4Body
2020 – #Tools2Thrive
The theme from 2020, #Tools2Thrive, will be continued in 2021. As people still learn to deal with COVID-19, learning coping mechanisms can drastically reduce the distress people are experiencing as a result of anxiety, depression, substance use, and other mental illnesses.
Mental Health By the Numbers
It is estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience a period of mental illness during their lifetime. While it may be that some are predisposed to mental illness, most people face challenges in life that impact their mental health.
Roughly 50 percent of individuals who suffer from a mental illness are also affected by substance abuse. According to research, 37 percent of alcoholics and 53 percent of people struggling with drug addiction have been diagnosed with mental illness. It is not uncommon for people to wonder how to get sober fast, but Mental Health Awareness Month provides valuable resources for you or your loved one to get sober safely and maintain that sobriety.
How Awareness Helps
Conditions like depression, when undiagnosed, can be mistaken for just feeling sad or down. By bringing awareness to mental health, more people are exposed to information that will lead them to the professionals who can help. Seeking out treatment can be the first step in improving your life, especially in times like the present.
People who haven’t dealt with mental health or substance use issues in the past may be less likely to recognize the symptoms that should direct them to seek help. Common feelings with mental illness, substance use and the COVID-19 pandemic are loneliness, isolation, or generally feeling low and helpless. It’s important to raise awareness about these symptoms and normalize the experience. This leads to more people seeking treatment for their conditions, rather than trying to wait it out alone. It also alerts other community members to look for the signs and symptoms that may indicate someone needs assistance.
It is important to know that when mental illnesses are left untreated, they can contribute to a decreased quality of life and events as serious as an attempted suicide. Knowing that substance abuse and mental health issues often co-occur can save lives. With the right support, treatment, and self-help tools, you can overcome a co-occurring disorder, reclaim your sense of self, and get your life back on track.
Share more information with your friends and loved ones about the importance of destigmatizing mental illness–it could save a life.