Observed in May each year since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has offered an incredible opportunity to spread information on the importance of maintaining good mental health. Additionally, this is a great time to self-reflect, reach out to others, and seek out any resources you may find that you need.

How to Engage in Mental Health Awareness

With the substantial amount of information circulating in our world today, it is important to take the time to seek out trusted sources concerning mental health and take care of yourself. With that in mind, we have included information that can help contribute to mental health awareness:

Educate Yourself 

An easy first step in mental health awareness is education. For example, you can increase your personal knowledge base by attending an education course, scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional, or researching reputable sources online. 

Here are a few  of our recommended resources: 

Start a Discussion

Open conversations are an opportunity to grow and learn together. Mental health can often be a sensitive topic for many. To ensure you are being considerate of this, start conversations by asking friendly questions such as:

  • How are you?
  • How are you feeling today?
  • Is there anything bothering you?
  • What’s on your mind today?

The response you receive will often help you gauge their comfortability with talking more in-depth on mental health. Be aware of social cues such as the tone or language they use. Allow them to decide the direction of the conversation. 

Look Out for Others

An open dialogue is not the only way to spread mental health awareness. Use this opportunity to personally reach out to your friends and family that may be going through a difficult time. While it can be a positive platform, avoid using social media as an outlet or resource for mental health. Instead, give your loved ones a phone or video call, send them a thoughtful text, or meet them in a safe environment. 

Here are some great resources you can utilize and share with friends and family: 

Practice Self-Care

Mental health awareness starts with you. Before you can positively impact others, it is important to take a pause and check-in with yourself. How have you been feeling recently? Have you noticed any changes? 

Another available mental health resource is the 2020 Mental Health America Toolkit. This year’s theme is Tools 2 Thrive which will provide practical tools anyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resilience.

If you are interested in a natural way of reducing stress and coping with anxiety, download our guide for easy, at-home meditation practices you can try.

How to Support Friends and Family

To quote the National Alliance of Mental Illness’s motto, “You are not alone.” 

In fact, nearly one in five U.S. adults experience mental health issues in their life and almost 50% seek treatment. It’s possible that some of your friends and family may be having a difficult time or experiencing issues with mental health. 

In an effort to be sensitive to this, it can be difficult to know the best way to move forward and offer your support. Here are a few ways you can show your friends and family that you care:

  • Meet them for lunch or have it delivered to their home 
  • Communicate regularly
  • Video chat once a week
  • Netflix Party their favorite movie or show
  • Help them find support if that is their wish
  • Offer help with everyday tasks such as picking up groceries or taking out their trash
  • Be patient 
  • Listen if they wish to talk 
  • Understand if they cancel plans

Above all, showing your friends and family that you are there for them, whether you are aware of their mental health or not, is the most important thing you can do. 

How to Get Help in an Emergency

If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting oneself or others, experiencing panic attacks, or considering drastic actions, dial 911.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for 24/7 support. 

What Type of Healthcare Provider You Should See

This is not a decision you need to make on your own. Your primary physician or nurse practitioner can provide you with a referral to the healthcare provider you need.

Depending on what you are experiencing, they will likely recommend seeing a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. 

Therapists and psychologists can help diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as substance abuse, learning difficulties, relationship problems, and behavioral issues. For mental illnesses that require medication, your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, and other emotional conditions.

Importance of Mental Health

Prioritizing your mental health and encouraging others to do the same is so important for well-being. 

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it is the perfect opportunity to assess your mental state and maximize the resources offered by mental health organizations. That being said, your mental health is something you should take care of all the time, and self-care should occur on a daily basis. 

When you take care of your mental health, you are able to focus your energy on your family, friends, and passions. 

Tips for supporting loved ones who might be struggling