Updated: Jun 5
Mental Health Awareness Month is an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues. The month of May is chosen because it's the month when many people celebrate the importance of mental health and wellness.
Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) was first observed in 1949 by Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of Americans with mental illness and substance use disorders.
Mental Health America's theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2023 is "Look Around, Look Within." The goal of this year's campaign is to encourage Americans to take charge of their own mental health and well-being by investing time in activities that make them feel happier and more fulfilled through housing stability, creating bonds within the community, and exploring nature.
How are people affected by mental health challenges?
Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people in their lifetime. That’s why it’s important to talk about why mental health matters and find counseling if you are struggling with one or more of these issues.
Mental health issues can range from mild to severe and may impact someone's ability to function in everyday life. The good news is that they're treatable!
People with mental health issues often find it difficult to get help due to stigma, shame, or fear of judgment. But it's important to talk about mental health problems because they are treatable, and recovery is possible — even when it seems like there's no hope.
How To Know When It's Time To Get Support?
If you are experiencing symptoms of trauma or anxiety, such as feeling sad or frantic most days of the week or finding it difficult to sleep or concentrate, talk with your doctor about getting support. Your doctor may recommend therapy or medication to help reduce symptoms like sadness or anxiety so that life gets easier again.
If you're experiencing any symptoms, including sadness or irritability; sleeping too much or too little; feeling like you're unable to enjoy things you used to enjoy; having trouble concentrating or making decisions; avoiding once pleasurable activities; and feeling like life isn't worth living anymore, then it's time for support.
If Someone Close To Me Has a Mental Health Issue — What Should I Do?
If someone close to you has a mental health issue, it can be difficult to know what to do. If they are your spouse or partner, you may be concerned that they will leave you. If they are your parent or child, you may worry about their safety and well-being.
The most important thing you can do is learn as much as possible about the condition and how it affects people with it. The more you understand about the problem and what causes it, the better equipped you will be to help the person suffering from it.
You might also want to consider talking with a counselor specializing in the issue affecting your loved one. A therapist can help you learn how best to support your loved one through this difficult time in his or her life while also helping you deal with any stress caused by their illness.
Try having an open and honest conversation with the person about your concerns. Let them know that you care about them and that you are concerned about their well-being. You may want to discuss what type of help is available in your community and how it can be accessed.
If someone close to you has a mental health issue, it’s important for them to see a professional therapist or counselor who can help them understand their feelings, emotions, and behaviors. It’s also important for you as a friend or family member to support them through this process. Below are some tips on how best to help: Listen Without Judgment or Criticism. Try not to make judgments about their situation or tell them what they “should” be doing differently (such as taking their medication). Instead of saying things like “You need to get out more” or “You need therapy,” just listen when they talk about their feelings and concerns with you. Being listened to without judgment or interference is one of the most important things anyone can give another person.
Encourage Them To Seek Help. Sometimes, it can be hard to admit that we need help — especially if we've been struggling with our mental health for a while and have gotten used to living with it. But when someone close to us opens up about their struggles, it can be really difficult not to want to do something about it. However, if they don't want your help or advice right now, respect their wishes and let them know that you're there whenever they need help or support in the future.
Listen Carefully. When someone close to you confides in you about their mental health struggles, it’s important to listen carefully and take them seriously. It can be difficult for people who feel isolated and alone to find someone who will listen without judgment or criticism. Sometimes, just having someone who cares enough about them to listen can give them the courage they need to seek the help they need. Take note of what they are saying and what they are doing. For example, if they were previously very depressed but went through a big change and are deleted and have recently gotten rid of their belongings, this can be a warning sign of suicide plans.
Be Supportive. While it’s important not to judge or criticize those who struggle with mental health issues, it’s equally important not to enable them by letting them use drugs or alcohol while they are trying to recover from their illness. People with addictions often need support just as much as those with other illnesses do. They may need encouragement and support through treatment programs, therapy sessions, and other methods of rehabilitation
Where to Find Help
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. They offer a variety of resources, including support groups, education programs, and a helpline. You can visit their website at nami.org or call their helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA is a government organization that provides resources for mental health and substance abuse. They offer a national helpline that provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and other resources. You can visit their website at samhsa.gov or call their helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA is the largest professional organization for psychologists in the United States. They offer resources for finding a psychologist, as well as information on different types of therapy and mental health conditions. You can visit their website at apa.org to find a psychologist in your area. Just ask.
Additional Resources can also be found on this site at https://www.piperharris.net/resources
Taking care of our mental health is essential for our overall well-being. It is important to prioritize our mental health just as we prioritize our physical health. Seeking help for mental health issues can be challenging, but it is a brave and empowering step toward wellness. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let's remember that we are not alone and that resources are available to support us. Let's continue to empower and encourage one another to prioritize our mental health and seek the help we need to thrive.
Are you struggling with anxiety, grief, trauma, or other stress-related issues? Do you feel like you have tried everything, but nothing seems to work? As an expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), I can help you develop the skills and tools you need to manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
CBT is a highly effective form of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. By identifying and challenging these patterns, we can develop new, more positive ways of thinking and behaving. CBT effectively treats various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and OCD.
If you want to learn more about how I can help you with CBT, I invite you to visit my website and schedule a consultation. During our consultation, we can discuss your specific needs and goals and determine if CBT is the right approach for you. Together, we can work towards improving your mental health and helping you live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Don't let mental health issues hold you back any longer. Reach out today and take the first step towards a brighter future.