May is Mental Health Awareness Month. But mental health is more than a month. In order to stop the stigma, communication must continue around the importance of mental health all year. Specifically, during the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has become a national conversation. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported in late April over half of U.S. adults (56%) COVID-19 stress or worry has had a negative impact on their mental health. A recent PsychU Webinar noted the loneliness epidemic was already prevalent in our culture. COVID-19 is helping the world recognize this epidemic and increase resources available online to uplift people. Additionally, behavioral health professionals anticipate a reduced mental health stigma at the end of this pandemic. Mental health awareness is increasingly important in our world.
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May since 1949. It’s outreach has touched millions of people through media, local events, and screenings. Mental Health America releases a toolkit every March to support outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. But why not use these tools to educate the public about mental illness all year long? Why not talk about the fact that 18.1% of Americans suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder? Why not continue talking about suicide to help reduce the stigma associated with it?
Mental Health Awareness Tools
To help you spread the word about mental health awareness, we have compiled several tools and resources for you.
Resources Specific to Mental Health Awareness During COVID-19:
How to #BeTheDifference For People With Mental Health Concerns During COVID-19 (Mental Health First Aid)
Finding Local Mental Health Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis (American Psychological Association)
Mental Health Resources
Tips for Mental Wellness
Mental health is not prejudiced. It affects the world as a whole regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or social background. Psychology Today created a list of ways to encourage people to live in a manner promoting mental wellness. Here are some of their healthy mind tips you can share:
- Get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Avoid unhealthy foods, such as sugars, greasy foods, salts, processed foods, and saturated fats.
- Consume more whole grains, greens, unprocessed foods, lean meats, and unsaturated fats.
- Drink at least 3 liters of water per day.
- Engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Stay away from toxic thoughts, toxic people, and toxic conversations.
- Practice mindfulness or meditation on a daily basis.
- Learn how to manage your stress.
- Stay present in your daily relationships.
- Avoid “screen time” and engage in more “in-person time”.
- Take time for yourself every day.
Spread the Word about Mental Health
Whether your outreach takes place on social media, your blog, your local paper or in your clinic, generating awareness about mental illness should be an ongoing effort. Help others recognize 20% of us will experience a severe mental health disorder at some point in our lifetime. That is one out of every five of us. You can help by keeping the conversation going.
At Patagonia Health we are raising our voices to fight the stigma against mental illness. Help us by speaking up or sharing this post.
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