New and Noteworthy
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we appreciate any opportunity to talk about the importance of addressing mental health! As individuals, parents, partners, and community members, mental health affects us each and every day. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate – it impacts people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, education, and socioeconomic levels. In the U.S. alone, there are 43.8 million adults living with a mental illness in a given year, and 17.1 children who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10-14.
Mental illness can impact one’s relationships, education, career, and so much more. Unfortunately, there is much work to be done in and around how we talk about and address mental health. There is an average delay of 8-10 years between the onset of mental illness symptoms and intervention. People are often afraid to speak up, unaware of the symptoms of mental illness, or lack access to mental health services. In a world that is constantly talking about the importance of physical health, we need to think holistically and be mindful of the importance of conversations around mental health as well.
This month I challenge you to reflect on how you can reduce stigma and promote positive mental health practices, both in your personal and professional lives. I hope the tips and resources below will help you and the families you serve learn more about mental illness and encourage discussions on mental health at home, among friends, and in the workplace.
Tip of the Month:
Addressing mental illness, both on an individual and societal level, can easily feel like an overwhelming task. However, there are simple steps you can take in your day-to-day life that encourage a positive, educated culture around mental health:
- Recognize the signs. While mental illness can manifest in a myriad of ways, there are some common signs and symptoms to watch for, including excessive worrying or fear, feeling sad or low, extreme mood changes, problems concentrating and learning, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. Being aware of these signs is important to not only your own mental health, but can also help you support and advocate for others.
- Ask for help and encourage others to do the same. Mental health can be a challenge, but not one that you or a loved one has to face alone. For many of us, asking for help is hard. But it’s also brave! If you’re considering getting professional help, or encouraging someone else to do so, Mental Health America has tips and concrete steps to help get the process started.
- Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself is not only crucial to mental health, but also your ability to be a supportive partner, parent, friend, and coworker. Self-care looks different for everyone. Meditating, exercising, reading, or just taking some time alone to recharge are easy ideas to get you started.
- Foster an open dialogue with friends and family. Talking about mental health with those you’re closest to is an important part of building an accepting culture around mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Health has great suggestions on ways you can fight mental health stigma.
The Events Calendar offers a listing of national, regional and community-wide events that might be of interest to our targeted safety-net stakeholders. This includes conferences, webinars, policy forums, etc. You may submit events for consideration and inclusion on the Events Calendar.
Submitted events will be reviewed, and once approved, the event and its details will be posted on the calendar. Supporting documents, registration information, and flyers can also be posted and downloaded with each event.