May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This annual observance is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues, reducing stigma, and promoting access to mental health resources and support. Actually, though, October and July are also mental health awareness months, which is kind of interesting. We’ll get into the distinction below. Recognizing this, what exactly does it mean and what can we do to honor it?

Mental Health Matters Every Day

First of all, even though this is Mental Health Awareness month, we think it’s important to note that mental health matters every single day. Although we’ve come a long way as a society in destigmatizing mental health issues, there’s still some stigma, shame, and lack of education around this issue. Having a month devoted to raising awareness helps to change that. But that doesn’t mean that this is the only time of year we should raise that awareness. This is an issue that affects us each and every day.

Mental Health Is Health

Also, remember that mental health is health. You really can’t separate the two. Pretty much every mental health condition has physical health symptoms. For example, you might get nausea, dizziness, sweating, fatigue, headaches … from depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Moreover, we really can’t separate mind and body; what affects one affects the other.

Everyone Has Mental Health

Although we don’t think of it this way in our society, mental health isn’t an illness, diagnosis, or condition. You can HAVE a mental health illness, diagnosis, or condition. You can have symptoms of those things as a result. But every single person has mental health. It’s the same as how everyone has health. A super healthy person with no illness at all still has health. And they have mental health.

mental health matters

What Is Mental Health Awareness Month?

Part of Mental Health Awareness Month is simply bringing awareness to these facts – that everyone has mental health, that mental health is health, and that our individual and collective mental health matters every single day.

Mental Health America (MHA) explains that they have observed May as Mental Health Month since 1949. They work to decrease stigma and raise awareness, asking other organizations to join them in these efforts. Their “goal is to provide foundational knowledge about mental health & mental health conditions and information about what people can do if their mental health is a cause for concern.”

Is May or July or October Mental Health Awareness Month?

If you look up which month is awareness month for the issue, you’re going to find some different answers. The primary answer is May. However, October and July might also come up in the search, and here is why:

Also, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

mental health month 2023

Mental Health Awareness Month Themes 2023

Whenever we have awareness-raising months like this, each year usually has a specific subcategory as its theme.

In 2023, Mental Health America’s subcategory is “Look Around and Look Within.

Specific topics include the relationship of mental health to:

  • Safe and Stable Housing
  • Healthy Home Environments
  • Neighborhoods and Towns
  • The Outdoors and Nature

NAMI’s 2023 theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “More Than Enough.” It is focused on uplifting and empowering the mental health community to feel that they are “more than enough.”

More Awareness

From NAMI:

Why Does Mental Health Awareness Month Matter?

Why do we have these months dedicated to raising awareness about mental health? Why do they matter?

As we already mentioned, mental health is health and everyone has mental health. Therefore, it’s an issue that affects everyone. The more that we normalize talking about the issue, taking care of our mental health, and supporting others during mental health challenges, the better off we all are.

Awareness months, like Mental Health Awareness Month, have several benefits, including:

Obviously, raising awareness

Awareness months draw attention to important issues and increase public understanding and knowledge about a particular topic. This increased awareness can help reduce stigma, misconceptions, and promote acceptance and support for individuals and communities affected by the issue.

Advocacy and activism

Awareness months can also provide a platform for advocacy and activism, helping to mobilize people to take action and advocate for policy changes or increased funding for research and support services.

Education and prevention

Awareness months often include educational and prevention initiatives, such as providing information on symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options. This can help promote early intervention and prevention of the issue.

Community building

Awareness months can bring people together who share a common experience or interest, helping to build community and provide a sense of support and belonging.

Fundraising

Awareness months often include fundraising initiatives to support research, education, and support services related to the issue. This can help raise money for important causes and initiatives.

Media attention

Awareness months often receive media attention, which can help raise awareness and promote discussion about the issue in the wider community.

mental health stigma

Things to Do to Honor Mental Health Awareness Month

So, with all of that in mind, what are some things that each of us can do as individuals to honor the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Visit the pages for NAMI, MHA and other similar organizations to learn about their specific efforts going on this month.
  • Share your story on the NAMI page so that others can read about your mental health journey.
  • Attend a related virtual or in-person event.
  • Volunteer at a mental health related facility, organization, class, or event.
  • Educate yourself on different aspects of mental health. Read our blog to get started! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. You can also check out books, podcasts, and other types of media to learn more about mental health.
  • Share your mental health story, thoughts, or related resources on social media. You can use hashtags like #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthishealth and, of course, #mentalhealthawarenessmonth. Feel free to tag us @mindfulcenterSF on Instagram if you’d like us to share your posts.
  • Have an honest conversation with mental health about someone in your life this month.
  • Re-share other people’s related social media posts this month.
  • Make an appointment for therapy. Find a new therapist in our therapist directory. Have questions? Contact us.

Want to share a thought, quote, resource, story, or something else with us for Mental Health Awareness Month? Use the comments section! We’d love to hear from you.