May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, (National Alliance on Mental Illness) NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. There is an ongoing need to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.
It is time for us to think about and share more about our mental wellbeing. Our mental health refers to our emotional and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and behave. It plays a role in connecting with others, decision making, handling stress, and many other aspects of daily life. Everyone has mental health, and it deserves your attention just as much as your physical health does.
When facing a mental health condition, it’s common to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. You may start to believe the lie that you are alone, misunderstood, or inadequate. But many people overcome the mental health challenges they face. You aren’t alone–help is out there, and recovery is possible.
The last two years tested our abilities to cope with chronic stress, isolation, and the dreaded word “uncertainty.” Now, more than ever, the importance of mental health awareness is crucial in stopping the epidemic of suicide. Mental health is an important part of everyone's life. You should take care of yourself mentally by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and taking time to relax.
10 Books To Read for Mental Health Awareness Month
- Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
- Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
- The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
- Rust: a Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach
- I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller
- All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Towes
- Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
- The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang
- Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Resources & Ideas (Help Spread Mental Health Awareness)
Here's your personal checklist on how you can make a difference this month (or any month) to spread awareness, advocate, reduce stigma, and create positive change in your community. Please consider these ideas your call to action:
- Write your personal story and share using #Together4MH
- Advocate for better mental health care by signing up for NAMI's advocacy alert emails and taking action when opportunities present themselves in your community. Each state has their own alerts or newsletters.
- Sound the Alarm for Kids raises awareness of the national emergency of child and adolescent mental health.
- Policy change is one major way to help people who suffer from mental illness. Mental health services need to be available for everyone, regardless of income or insurance status. More funding for research into new treatments is also necessary.
- IF YOU ARE IN CRISIS: Text “MHA” to 741741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a trained crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year. Spanish speakers: 1-888-628-9454. Deaf & hard of hearing: TTY users, use your preferred relay service or dial 711, then 1-800-273-8255.
You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? We need community outreach to wrap our arms around those impacted by mental health conditions and illnesses. Why? Because we all are impacted.
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