MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH
Article by Stacie Hart, Human Resources/Recruitment Analyst
If you see folks wearing green ribbons during May, it is likely in order to acknowledge National Mental Health Awareness Month. The month of May was designated as Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949 by Mental Health America, as a way to increase awareness of mental health conditions and the stigma traditionally surrounding them.
Offshoots of this Mental Health Holiday in May 2022 include National Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16), National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day (May 19), and National Hairstylist Mental Health Awareness Day (May 27). These commemorations illustrate the fact that mental health concerns touch every facet of society, every life station, every race, creed, religion and orientation. We truly are all in this together.
The importance of Mental Health Awareness Month is because mental health challenges so often get overlooked or minimized until something tragic occurs, such as a collapse and breakdown, or even suicide.
A common form of mental illness, depression, afflicts even the famous and wealthy. Kirsten Dunst, Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson, Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, Lady Gaga, and many others have reported battling with this often-debilitating illness.
Mental Health impacts individuals’ and families’ wellbeing every day. The CoViD-19 pandemic aggravated mental health challenges for countless adults, children, families and communities, increasing our collective stress, anxiety, trauma, and, of course, depression. The feelings of isolation (as an example) created by the pandemic have exacerbated the situation in tangible ways. Youth have suffered perhaps most acutely due to learning loss and disruptions in their school routines, and the social experiences those routines traditionally provide. Suicide attempts among young girls have increased by over 50% since 2020. Facing increased risks of suicide are communities of Native Americans, Black Americans, Alaskan Natives, and LGBTQ youngsters.
If you suspect you or someone you love is suffering, know that help is always available. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHS)’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides copious sources to guide individuals and families to the help they need. Sources include (but are not limited to) substance abuse and overdose treatment, harm reduction, behavioral health services, crisis recovery, and serious mental illness treatment facilities. Please visit DHS/SAMHSA at: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment.
Uncited Author, 2021. The Inspiring History of Mental Health Awareness Month. Lehigh Center for Clinical Research.
Uncited Author, 2022. May Is Mental Health Awareness Month – Find Out Its History and Why It’s More Important Than Ever. Parade, HEALTHY NOW.
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD, 2020. Celebrities With Depression. WebMD.
Joseph R. Biden, 2022. A Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2022. THE WHITE HOUSE, BRIEFING ROOM, PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS.