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How You Can Get Involved In Mental Health Awareness Month

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, NCC, LPC 

The month of October is often known for the beginning of fall, Halloween decor, and pumpkin spice everything; however, it is also known for increasing public awareness of mental health disorders, reducing stigma and prejudice towards individuals living with mental illnesses, and promoting community wellness.

The month of October is used for disseminating information and raising awareness about screenings and treatment, as the following is observed throughout the month:

  • National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month (NDMHS)
  • Health Literacy Month (HLM)
  • Bullying Prevention Month (BAM)
  • ADHD Awareness Month (AAM)

October’s observed emphasis weeks include the following:

  • The first week of October: The Mental Illness Awareness Week
  • The second week of October: The OCD Awareness Week
  • Third week of October: The National Health Education Week 

The following days have been identified as focus days:

  • October 8: National Depression Screening Day
  • October 10: World Mental Health Day 

How to raise awareness about mental health this month

While mental health awareness week runs from October 3-9 this year, the entire month is split into four weeks, each devoted to different mental illnesses and causes. There are activities and challenges you can do every day and week to promote awareness and educate while also caring for your own mental health. Mental Illness Awareness Week along with the entire month of October is the ideal opportunity to engage in mind-recharging activities. You may choose to sing, paint, sketch, listen to music, work out, or whatever else gives you pleasure. Spend time with individuals who bring you joy. Inform them about your efforts to enhance your mental well-being during the mental illnesses awareness week, and maybe they will join in. Consuming nutritious meals and engaging in regular physical activity is an excellent way to commemorate mental illness awareness month.

  Consider coupling an activity with a mental health awareness event, such as a NAMI Walk. One study found that taking walks in nature reduces stress levels. Mental Health Awareness Month of October is also an excellent opportunity to pick up a new hobby or skill. Learning new things helps to renew your mind and maintain it healthy. This is because refreshing your thoughts will assist you in keeping an optimistic attitude. 

Feeling a little blue? October is also an excellent time shift to an attitude of gratitude It is often more difficult to be pessimistic when you shine a light on all of the things for which you may be thankful. Journaling is beneficial for many individuals who suffer from mental health problems. You may get a more objective viewpoint if you type out or write down your thoughts. On the day, you may write anything in your diary, expressing your emotions or just checking in and being responsible. Make it a habit to journal regularly and you are more likely to see compounding effects. Choose the same time of day, weekday, or month to avoid putting it off and forgetting about it. After making an entry, the majority of individuals who begin journaling experience a feeling of relaxation.

Meditation is another effective technique for relieving stress during mental health awareness month. It is an activity you can perform alone or in the company of others. 

 Yoga is a great way to merge mediation and physical exercise thereby promoting overall well-being. According to some studies, individuals who suffer from bipolar illness self-reported that yoga aided their emotional stabilization.

While cleaning may be stressful for some, a thorough spring cleaning can be beneficial to the spirit. Studies have shown that individuals living in cluttered, untidy houses had greater cortisol levels than those who keep their homes clean. Consider paring down your possessions and living more simply as a method to raise your awareness and education.

Finally, teaming up with organizations that are fighting mental disorders may not only increase your feelings of happiness, but also contribute to feelings of well-being in others. Collaborate with organizations such as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), NAMI, or the APA for awareness events. The majority of charity organizations and other mental education and awareness groups will host events celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month. They are always seeking volunteers to assist them in distributing posters, posters, and other material, organizing speaker gatherings, and participating in fundraising events. There are many opportunities for involvement if you are interested and competent.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about general mental health and well-being or would simply like to take the first step on their mental health journey, reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry counseling today!

Referenced articles: 

  1. https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/mental-illness-awareness-week
  2. https://mhanational.org/mental-illness-awareness-week
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