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Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Month. It is a time to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and decrease the stigma associated with mental illness.

Throughout the month, advocacy groups will be highlighting the fact that mental illness is common and treatable. The goal is to shine a light on what it is like to live with mental illness, showcasing stories of real-life people with mental illness who could be our neighbors, family members or even ourselves.

In addition to giving mental illness a human face, there is a focus on tearing down false beliefs about common mental health diagnoses such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

The overriding goal is to educate people so they are more aware of what mental illness is and feel empowered to address their own mental health.

There are many ways to personally support Mental Health Awareness Month. One easy way is to educate yourself about mental illness. Resources can be found at Mental health America.

In addition, you can search for events that support mental wellness this month at our local Mental Wellness Center.

You can increase your knowledge about mental illness by reading books that detail individuals first-person accounts of living with various mental health diagnoses. For example, you could read about Scott Stossel’s struggle with anxiety disorder, Brooke Shields’ account of her postpartum depression or Temple Grandin’s life experiences with autism.

These first-person accounts can provide important insights for those wanting to learn more about these diagnoses. In addition, if you struggle with these diagnoses, reading a book about someone with a similar story can allow you to normalize your experience and gain support from others who are having similar experiences.

Finally, in keeping with the focus on mental wellness, the month of May is a good time to check in and ask yourself: “How am I really doing? Am I doing all that I can to be mentally healthy?” Think about what you could do to support your mental wellness and that of those around you.

For example, you could take a stress reduction class, take up yoga, attend a mindfulness class or work to improve your sleep routine. You can also consider if you want to seek professional help to push through feelings or behaviors that have been limiting you.

Use the month of May as a springboard to gain greater awareness of mental illness and to enhance your own mental health. The hope is that your interest in learning about mental health issues and focus on your own mental wellness will remain even after the month comes to a close.



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