This May, we celebrate the 72nd Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Mental Health Awareness Month started in 1949 to raise awareness, educate the public, and reduce the stigma of mental health. We continue to observe this month to help highlight conversations about mental health and wellness.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one out of four adults in the U.S. currently has a diagnosable mental health condition. Less than half of the people with mental health conditions are estimated to access treatment. 49.5 percent of teens and 20 percent of children are estimated to have mental health conditions.
Lack of awareness of mental health issues can lead to delayed treatment, treatment avoidance, more severe mental health symptoms, longer recovery times, discrimination, loss of life, lost wages, decreased productivity, increased suffering, and social and societal problems. By raising awareness of mental health, we can become a healthier, happier, and more just society.
Effective strategies to help raise awareness and help improve our community’s mental health include:
- Talking openly about mental health and wellness
- Educating ourselves and others about mental health
- Showing compassion for ourselves and each other
- Advocating for compassion and understanding of all mental health issues
This month in our school, we are sharing information and resources about mental health. I invite you and your family to take a few moments each day to care for your own mental health. Find a grounding activity to start your day, breathe deeply, journal, practice gratitude, or move your body. When you are feeling grounded, you can then reach out to others. Taking a moment in your busy day to slow down and ask someone, “How are you feeling?” and “What can I do to support you?” can promote wellness in our community.
Wishing you moments of peace and wellness, this month and always,
–Lynne Hakim, LICSW, BCD, SWS School Counselor
- A Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2021 | The White House
- Mental Health Month | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)
- Local Mental Health Resources and Crisis Connections