Your Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 2, 2024 — Jill Lanagan

Since its inception in 1949, May has been the month to raise awareness of mental health issues. It has been the cornerstone of addressing challenges faced by million of Americans that are living with mental health conditions. Working together to promote acceptance and compassion is our focus to kick off the first week of this important topic.

It is key to remember that we all play a part in one another’s mental wellness. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The state of our mind affects our body and vice versa. Humans are social creatures, so it matters how we interact and how we talk to each other. When treated in a negative way because of mental illness, it denies people by their illness rather than as an individual. Stigma happens from a lack of understanding of mental illness, through ignorance and misinformation, even fear. These reactions can come not only from a stranger but even within family or friends.

We need to understand that the language we use can either perpetuate prejudice and discrimination or promote acceptance and compassion. It is up to each of us to be a lifeline, to share in a commitment to care for ourselves and those around us. Stigma and discrimination can contribute to worsening symptoms and reduced likelihood of getting treatment. Self-stigma leads to negative effects on recovery among people with severe mental illness, according to recent research. 

Everyone can change the way they refer to those with mental health conditions by avoiding labels. Instead of saying “someone is anorexic”, for example say, “they have anorexia”. Individuals can learn how to offer reassurance and acceptance to friends, family members, neighbors, and others with mental health challenges. In conclusion, when we all work together we can create change by acknowledging the prevalence of mental health issues in our society, shifting our attitudes towards those with mental health challenges and help more people get the help they need to recover and live full, healthy lives.                   

Topics: Your Health

Written by

Jill Lanagan

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