Since 1949, the United States has observed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. First started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization, Mental Health Awareness Month attempts to raise awareness and increase understanding about mental health.
The following preamble is the basis for MHA, providing a foundation for communities and individuals to understand and recognize that mental health conditions occur across all walks of life. Because of this being a common health challenge, they seek to offer guidelines to emphasize the importance of spotlighting mental health and draw attention to the benefits of treatment.
WHEREAS, mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being; and
WHEREAS, all Americans experience times of difficulty and stress in their lives; and
WHEREAS, prevention is an effective way to reduce the burden of mental health conditions; and
WHEREAS, there is a strong body of research that supports specific tools that all Americans can use to better handle challenges, and protect their health and well-being; and
WHEREAS, mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation; and
WHEREAS, with early and effective treatment, those individuals with mental health conditions can recover and lead full, productive lives; and
WHEREAS, each business, school, government agency, healthcare provider, organization and citizen shares the burden of mental health problems and has a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support prevention efforts.
This year MHA’s mental health theme is “Back to Basics.”
“After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being,” according to a statement by MHA.
Knowledge is an essential part of recognizing and gauging how your emotional and mental well-being might be affecting you.
Armed with knowledge, to combat the impact that these factors have had on many individuals, MHA is providing foundational knowledge about mental health and mental health conditions. Such as;
- What is a mental health condition?
- What are symptoms of mental health conditions? What is stress, trauma and what are coping skills?
- What plays a role in individuals developing mental health conditions?
- How do you maintain good mental health?
- Are you able to recognize when you need help with your mental health?
Although designating a month to highlight and focus on mental health helps bring attention and awareness that mental health issues can be debilitating and affect anyone, it is important to acknowledge that mental health awareness shouldn’t be made a point of focus for just one month out of the year, but an important topic that receives ongoing attention by community programs and through individualized wellness practices.
Through concerted and conscious effort, anyone experiencing a mental health condition whether chronic or temporary can learn when, where, and how to access support, as most conditions are treatable.
Mental health awareness, and paying attention to one’s mental health, is a responsibility we all share each and every day. Not sure where to begin? MHA’s dedicated mental health awareness website is a great place to start.
By the Office of Employee Wellness
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