May has been designated as Mental Health Month for 2016—a key opportunity for us to elevate the conversation and raise awareness for issues related to mental health. Sadly, despite the overwhelming number of Americans who are impacted by mental health issues, this remains a topic that many of us are afraid to discuss openly. Mental Health Month presents a good chance to break the stigma.
The question is what can you do to get involved? How can you participate in Mental Health Month? There are many possible answers; find one that works for you.
- Get resources you can use to inform and educate throughout Mental Health Month—both online and off.
- Encourage your friends and loved ones to be screened for mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and substance use. There is no harm in being screened!
- Reach out to a local support group, or a group that educates kids about mental health and substance use disorders. Volunteer to share your story of struggle and recovery.
- Take some time to educate yourself about mental health and some of the issues that relate to it. Expand your sense of empathy for those who are struggling.
- Pledge to be stigma-free in the way you talk about mental health disorders; be thoughtful about never using dehumanizing language or slang.
- Above all, be open to sharing your story. Do not hesitate to talk about the importance of mental health with the people you love. Your candor can be a powerful tool in breaking down stigma.
Mental health awareness is something we need much more of—not just now, but always. Mental Health Month is a good way to start building it, and to take the conversation about mental health to a better place.
What will you do for Mental Health Month? Tell us!
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