Mental Health Awareness Month, was established in 1948 by Mental Health America (formerly National Association for Mental Health) to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illness, living with these conditions, and strategies for maintaining mental health and wellness. Mental health organizations such as Mental Health America (MHA), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) raise awareness, provide resources and tools, to be connected, and breaking the stigma of mental illness.
Approximately 1 in 5 Americans will experience mental illness during their lifetime, but everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has presented new challenges for those living with severe mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, and even individuals without lived experience in mental illness may be experiencing anxiety, depression, and feelings of social isolation at this time.
There are tools and resources available to help people find support and connect to their community. Here are examples from the three national organizations:
MHA’s Tools2Thrive Toolkit (#Tools2Thrive) includes sample materials for communications and social media as well as printable handouts on several topics including:
- Owning Your Feelings
- Finding the Positive
- Eliminating Toxic Influences
- Creating Healthy Routines
- Supporting Others
- Connecting with Others
NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign (#NotAlone) features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness fighting stigma, inspiring others with lived experience, and educating the broader public. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Individuals with lived experience are encouraged to share their experiences. The campaign also features statistical fact sheets and infographics on a variety of topics including: Why mental health matters, mental health warning signs, taking charge of your mental health, and information on mental health conditions and treatment and services.
ADAA’s mental health month campaign focuses on breaking the stigma (#BreakTheStigma) associated with anxiety, depression, and related co-occurring disorders by sharing lived experiences to inspire and support others facing similar challenges. The ADAA provides information on understanding anxiety and depressive mental health conditions as well as statistical data, resources for treatment and support, and tips for helping friends and relatives who may be experiencing mental health challenges. Many individuals may be experiencing anxiety and depressive symptoms for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic—ADAA also offers resources and tips for dealing with “coronavirus anxiety.”
Local affiliates of these organizations may have events and resource available to help people in their communities. Visit their websites or call your local Community Resource Specialists to find out what’s happening in your area.
If you are struggling or in suicidal, emotional distress or crisis please reach out for help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800/273-8255 (V), and 800/799-4889 (TTY).
The above information and resources are also available in Español on their respective organizational websites.