Mental health is wealth, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month, which is celebrated in May. The stigma around mental health and treatment has long existed, even though this has started to change. Still, people hesitate to seek help or even talk about it with their loved ones for fear of being judged and facing unnecessary backlash. Simple logic dictates that if we are hurt anywhere, we must seek treatment to get better. This applies to both our mental- and physical well-being. While Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated in the U.S., a more universal day is also celebrated by the WHO on October 10, and it is known as World Mental Health Day.
History of Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month was first celebrated in 1949. It was commemorated by the Mental Health America organization, which was then known as the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and then later as the National Mental Health Association before it got its current name. The association was founded by Clifford Whittingham Beers. Beers, who was born in 1876 in Connecticut, was one of five children in his family who all suffered from mental illness and psychological distress. All of them also went on to spend time at mental institutions and it was from his hospital admittance that he discovered that the mental health field had a notorious reputation for malpractice, maltreatment, and immense bias.
Beers went on to author “A Mind That Found Itself”, which is a bestseller even today. Gaining popularity and support from medical professionals, Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene. Beers and his colleagues at the association wanted to find ways to make sure that mental health patients not only received the right care but also did not feel alone in their fight against mental diseases.
Since 1949, each year, a theme is selected to be highlighted and celebrated throughout May. Recent years have seen themes like ‘Do More for 1 in 4’ (2011), ‘B4Stage4’ (2015), and ‘Nature’ (2021). During the month, various events are held that are covered by media and well-known figures like politicians and actors. Mental Health America also diligently releases a mental health toolkit for outreach activities.
Mental Health Awareness Month timeline
Clifford Beers establishes the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, now known as Mental Health America.
Beers opens the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, and it is the first outpatient clinic for mental health patients in the U.S.
The WFMH comes into existence, which is affiliated with numerous NGOs and volunteers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic's unprecedented times, Mental Health America chooses ‘Tools 2 Thrive’ as a theme to help people dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, etc. related to the pandemic.
Mental Health Awareness Month FAQs
What are some mental health helpline numbers?
You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text ‘MHA’ to 741741. You can also visit the following websites for more information:
- Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/get-involved/contact-us
- Suicide Crisis Lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines
- Suicide Prevention Lines: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/
What are the four types of mental illness?
According to MedlinePlus some types of mental disorders are:
- “Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.
- Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders.
- Eating disorders.
- Personality disorders.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.”
What is the color of Mental Health Awareness Month?
Mental health awareness is represented by a green ribbon.
How to Observe Mental Health Awareness Month
Take care of yourself
Life has numerous ups and downs. Some are solvable but others not so much. When your mental health acts up, seek the right treatment and make yourself better because, after all, life has much more to offer than just pain and suffering.
Take care of your loved ones
Check up on your friends and family. Many times, all people need is a shoulder to cry on and/or an ear to listen. Support and encourage them if they are being treated for any mental problems.
Talk about mental health
One of the best ways to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month is by talking about it with your peers. The more you talk about it, the more normalized it will become. This is one of the aims of the month as the stigma attached to mental health has led to countless delays in treatment AND research on the matter.
5 Facts About Anxiety Disorder That Will Blow Your Mind
Anxiety most common
In the U.S., anxiety disorder is the most common form of mental illness.
Very few people seek treatment
Anxiety disorder is treatable in many cases but only about 36% of people opt to get help.
Multiple factors cause anxiety
From brain activities to genetics to life events, a host of factors can lead to a person developing an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety from a young age
The National Institute of Mental Health states that 8% of American teenagers already have an anxiety disorder.
Exercise to fight anxiety
Many studies have proven that a little boost of energy from exercise can help lessen the effects of anxiety disorder.
Why We Love Mental Health Awareness Month
It’s a celebration of mental health
The only way to enjoy life to the fullest and experience all its wonders is if we take care of ourselves, mentally and physically. Don’t shy away from talking about what’s plaguing you because it might not be your fault, no matter how much society tells you otherwise.
It’s a celebration of changing attitudes
We have come a long way from the times when mental patients were treated as outcasts, not only by their loved ones but also by medical professionals. Times have started changing and more and more people are changing their outlook on mental illnesses. However, we still have a long way to go.
It’s a celebration of humans
We humans are a set of meticulously-put-together details. Our minds (and bodies) work in harmony to bring us amazing feats in technology, science, humanities, literature, etc. Our mental power, therefore, needs to be taken care of for a better tomorrow for the coming generations.
Mental Health Awareness Month dates