Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949. It was developed to provide education around mental health illness and ways we can support each other. This year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness is launching the More Than Enough campaign. If you'd like to learn more about this campaign, visit their site. If you want in-depth information about mental health, feel free to visit other locations on their site. I previously worked within the organization and they provide incredible support for individuals with mental illness and their families.
For this first post of May, I decided to reach out to family and friends to discuss why Mental Health Awareness month is important. Here are some of the answers from people who aren't therapists:
Why is mental health awareness important?
Everyone experiences low points
Too many people think they are alone in how they feel
People who don’t get it, don’t get it
It’s just as important as physical health
Understanding mental health is another reason to be kind to each other
It can help to make struggles better by knowing where they stem from
It affects us all!
Important to recognize that other people face different battles than you
Society awards appearing put together so it’s important to check in
It allows people to understand each other better
I also asked some therapists the same questions! Here is what they said:
Because mental health is health
It helps to stop the stigma
It normalizes the experiences people go through
Mental health is social and part of our relationships
General awareness is necessary; you don't need to be an expert to understand
People must learn how to accept parts of themselves
If we know more about what people are going through, we can treat them
We develop more empathy and compassion when we know more
How do you know if your mental health is struggling?
Sleeping too much
Running late to work
Feeling "out of sorts"
Difficulty getting out of bed
Staying up late at night
Difficulty doing household chores, like cooking for yourself
Saying no to social engagements
Becoming irritable with support system
Irritable with others
Feeling negative and/or pessimistic
Difficulty being empathetic
Feeling dismissive or "over it"
Shorter tolerance with others
What do you wish more people understood about mental health?
You don't have to announce your diagnosis for it to be valid
It is yours to share whenever you feel comfortable and ready
It's not about being weak or strong - it is what it is!
You are not "overreacting" or "making it up" or failing
It is not shameful
There is a world of issues that can stem from mental health
It looks different on everyone - symptoms manifest differently in everyone
There are good days and really bad days
It is so common
It affects everyone in our lives
It's not a choice - its the same as getting ill or breaking a bone
It isn't all in your head
There is support and help for you
It is not shameful
Mental health does not define who you are - it is part of an incredible whole
You are way less alone that you think you are
Don't apologize for what your mind is doing
Therapists love to help - we are always ready when you are
These responses brought me genuine joy. It was amazing to read the amount of respect and acceptance that people showed. I also wanted you to read responses from other therapists to show that we all want what is best for our clients.
So, this Mental Health Awareness Month, as yourself the same questions. And then more - what can I do to support others? How can I talk to others about how I'm feeling? Who needs me to be more open and vulnerable?
When you are ready to seek services, or you have a child who needs support, reach out to me. I look forward to working through anything you have to bring with you.
I (Gillian) am the owner of Tavernier Therapy Group. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Provider and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider. I work with teenagers who struggle to connect with their parents and am currently accepting clients! Take a look around my website and get to know me. I look forward to hearing from you!