Since 1949, May has been Mental Health Awareness Month. Here are 7 things you can do to help people’s learn about mental health awareness. Try only one of the following items or try them all.
- Know that recovery is possible and that recovery is possible for everyone. People wonder if recovery is possible and if recovery is possible for them. It is and each person gets to decide what recovery will look like for him or herself. If you don’t know what recovery is or even if it is possible, visit the SAMHSA website and look at the consensus statement about mental health recovery. The statement is huge because there is no one right answer.
- Share your story about mental health. Awareness is often a 1 on 1 learning experience. Take the time to share the parts of your story that can help someone else shorten their learning curve. Care enough to not leave the job of sharing to someone else. Everyone’s story is different and needs to be shared.
- Share that mental health is physical. Neither the body nor the brain operate in isolation. When the body becomes ill, the mind is under stress. When the brain struggles, the body is under stress. They do not and cannot operate without the other. This means that all mental health has to be holistic. Any other option or treatment is unacceptable.
- Check out NAMI’s (National Alliance On Mental Illness) Hearts and Minds Education Program. It is available entirely online. There is a facilitators manual and accompanying videos that can assist anyone desiring to give the Hearts and MInds Course. The entire course is available online. If you can’t find someone to give the Hearts and Minds Course and don’t feel like giving Heart’s and Minds yourself, you can take the course online, totally free by yourself.
5. Another option is the special website that was set up by Mental Health America called Live your life well.org. It is a website that guides you along different philosophies and attitudes throughout the month of May. It is good, solid, useable information that you can use again and again.
6. It’s been a long, hard road that people have had to travel to get to a solid, long-lasting mental health recovery. Celebrate that we have come as far as we have. The official site of the cemetery restoration project is
7. Know that peer support specialists are some of the best things in a mental health services system. For all too many, for all too long there were few ways to find someone that was in recovery to see that it was possible, what it might look like and how it could possibly be done. If they and their body of knowledge would have been available to me, I would have gotten into a solid, durable long-lasting recovery years before I was able to.
Jim McNulty once said “treatment works, if you can get it”. That is as true to today as it was when he first said it years ago.