Ever since 1949, the United States has been observing Mental Health Awareness month in May because of an effort from the Mental Health America organization. Each year, Mental Health America reaches millions of people across the country to raise awareness of mental disorders and to help break the stigma that is associated with mental illness.
Mental Health Stigma
Unlike any other disorder that affects the body, mental illness carries a different kind of weight because the sufferer is often blamed for the way they feel instead of the blame being on the disorder itself. Just as a cancer patient did not ask for their illness, neither did a person with a mental health disorder.
Mental Health America
Every May, the Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), and similar organizations host events, provide information and platforms for people to share their experiences with mental health.
Ways to Participate
- Become an advocate. Participate in local events that help raise awareness of mental health issues. Write to your local leaders and encourage them to speak on behalf of Mental Health Awareness Month.
- Volunteer. Volunteers for NAMI and other organizations are always sought after. Give your time to help spread the word on the work of these organizations and encourage your friends and family to get involved.
- Donate. If you’d like to help these organizations financially, make sure the organization is nationally accredited and that the funds will be used to help those with a mental illness. Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Health, and local counseling centers are always a great choice.