May is Mental Health Month: Let’s talk about the way we talk about mental health
May is Mental Health Month and it’s an important observance because each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. That means, 1 in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. During the month of May, Monarch joins local and national organizations and advocacy groups like The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America and others to help raise awareness about mental health.
Although at Monarch, we provide services, support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families all year long, in May, we join other providers and advocates to support this important observance as another opportunity to “talk about the way we talk about mental health” or simply put to continuing meaning conversations about mental health in our communities.
Open and honest discussions about mental illness are important because stigma surrounding mental illness creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that promotes stigma can create huge challenges that prohibit reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us, especially when you realize stigma’s effects. People experiencing mental health conditions can face rejection, bullying and discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.
The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it. When we talk about health, we can’t just focus on heart health, or liver health, or brain health separately, but the whole health for all Americans. So, let’s talk about the way we talk about mental health. Start a conversation with a friend or loved one today. Many of these conversations are already starting online. Use the hashtags #mentalhealthmonth #endthestigma to help start a meaningful dialogue.
For more information, to find support or to make an appointment, call Monarch at (866) 272-7826.
Sources: NAMI, MHA