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What Is Mental Health Awareness Month?

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, LPC, NCC

 The importance of mental health awareness cannot be emphasized enough. We are lucky to live in a time where people are more eagerly promoting the significance of mental and emotional wellbeing. One such gesture is the observance of mental health awareness month in the month of May. 

 Why Mental Health Awareness Is Important

         Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month or Mental Health Month in the US. As per the stats released by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 out of every 5 adults in the US suffers from a serious mental health problem, in 2017, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the US as per the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These mental health issues are not limited to the US alone. According to a global survey, about 250 million worldwide suffer from mental health problems; however, only about 1/3 of these people will seek help. This is due in large part to the stigma associated with mental health disorders. People find it embarrassing to open up about their mental health issues and often choose to hide them as much as they can. Refusing to seek help or looking away from the mental health problems only worsens the situation. Hence, raising awareness in such matters is quintessential. Gestures like the mental health month are important because: 

  • They raise awareness about mental health problems.
  • They tell you that you are not alone.
  • They help you recognize and acknowledge your particular problem.
  • You get to know the importance of help.
  • You get to heal yourself.  

Your Mental Health Matters More Than Anything

         It’s 2021 and we have all made it through a heart wrenching pandemic. If you still choose to ignore your mental health problems, you may end up doing yourself more harm. Having an issue is nothing to be ashamed of and it is most certainly not your fault. Mental illness does not discriminate and many individuals will find themselves navigating an emotional or behavioral issue at some point in their lives. Furthermore, certain life events occur that can trigger some mental health disorders like PTSD, depression, or anxiety, just as the COVID-19 has impacted the mental health of millions of people around the world. It is important to remember that mental and physical health are intertwined with each other, you cannot have a healthy body if you do not have a sane and healthy mind.

 Our Responsibility 

         Whether you are currently suffering from a mental health problem, have recovered from one, or you are lucky enough to never have experienced it, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to play our part in raising awareness. You never know just how your empathetic words or kind gestures can impact someone who needs them most. Spread awareness about mental health issues around you, use the power of social media, or simply bring mental health up in conversations. if one person gets encouraged by your actions and seeks help, you have done your part. 

 Final Words

         May is Mental Health Awareness month. Use the opportunity to spread awareness. Seek help and encourage people around you as well. Together we can break the stigma and make this world a happier place for everyone.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues related to mental health, please reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling today, and get matched with a skilled Chicago therapist!

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