Mental Health Awareness Month celebrated in May

Addie Clayton, Reporter

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. It is a time where people can learn about mental health and help raise awareness for those affected. Mental health awareness was dedicated it’s own month in the year 1949 by Mental Health America (MHA). MHA’s mission is to work towards the goal of removing the stigma around mental illnesses because it prevents people from seeking help and guidance according to the MHA homepage. The stigma around mental illnesses causes fear due to judgment and shame for many according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

There will be resources available on NAMI’s website for people to use to help cope with their mental health all throughout May according to NAMI. NAMI will be featuring people’s stories and their mental health conditions on their website throughout the month. Their hope is to make people feel less alone by reading about other people’s similar experiences and struggles on their mental health according to the NAMI homepage. 

“I think that people can use this month to inform others about what they have, even though it’s good to do that anyways. It allows them to have more of an audience while explaining the importance of Mental Health Awareness,” sophomore Taylor Redington said. “I think it should have its own month because it’s something that needs to be recognized.”

There are a variety of different ways that individuals can help those who struggle with their mental health like giving them validation, being understanding and changing the subject if it causes concern according to the Child Mind Institute.
“I think the most important part [about Mental Health Awareness month] is to just be more mindful towards those you know who struggle with their mental health and give them the recognition they deserve and show them that they aren’t alone,” freshman Kayla Nicholson said.

Ways one can individually help spread awareness this month is by reaching out to people, sharing your support on social media, donating money to aiding organizations and receiving your own mental health screening according to MHA. Mental health screenings are a free and anonymous way to check your mental status if you are not sure on where you stand.

“I believe mental health should have its own month because it’s a big struggle for a lot of people and usually goes unnoticed. I think it’s nice to let people who struggle with their mental health feel seen for once,” Nicholson said.

MHA provides a toolkit for people to use that includes tips for success when someone is trying to accept their reality, ways to heal and adapt after trauma, dealing with anger and taking time for yourself. The toolkit also has additional resources as well as worksheets to work through your thoughts and feelings. There are also images provided in the toolkit for people to share on social media to help spread awareness. 

“The most important part of Mental Health Awareness Month is just spreading information and teaching others about different mental illnesses and how to help,” Redington said.