May is Mental Health Awareness Month! One in five kids suffers from a mental health issue. Let's stop the stigma and start talking! Below are five ways you can support Mental Health Awareness Month!
1. Know how to help someone in a crisis : About 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. These are our friends, family members, and loved ones who may be experiencing symptoms of mental health issues that aren’t obvious or visible. Keep resources on hand, learn how to recognize the signs, and know where you would go for help if someone you care about were to experience a crisis.
2. Share your experiences : Whether it’s a story about treatment or how your life is impacted by a mental health issue, sharing your experiences can be powerful for you and others. During Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage readers to consider sharing their stories with us, sharing with someone they trust, or sharing with a licensed therapist if their experiences are causing distress.
3. Understand the power of language and how it can contribute to stigma : Stigma toward mental health issues and treatment often stems from the way we come to understand concepts through pop culture and influential others. Many commonly used phrases and idioms can contribute to misunderstanding and a reluctance to seek treatment for fear of being perceived as “weak” or “crazy.” Help challenge the stigma in your corner of the world by spending some time thinking and reading about how words and experiences may feel from a different perspective.
4. Take care of yourself : One of the best ways we can contribute to improved mental health, better relationships, and healthier communities is to make sure we are managing ourselves and meeting our own needs. For people who tend to help others first, this can be feel selfish and difficult. However, it may be helpful to apply the same concept in which airline crews tell you to don your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Contact a mental health professional or treatment center if you need help with this.
5. Join the conversation :
Throughout the month, you’ll likely see some hashtags related to Mental Health Awareness Month on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. It’s common for some mental health organizations to organize conversations around specific hashtags, but there are also some general ones people can use to be part of the conversation. Some we’ll be using include: