While the month of May can be recognized for spring flowers and showers, it serves another important purpose: May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
The month of May was assigned the responsibility of raising awareness of mental health conditions as early as 1949. This year, Mental Health Awareness Month is focusing on two themes, including “Do More for 1 in 4” and “Healing Trauma’s Invisible Wounds.”
Do More for 1 in 4 is a call to action geared toward the 1 in 4 American adults (nearly 60 million) that live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition, and can go on to live full and productive lives. The campaign, developed by Mental Health America, was created to combat stigma and encourage help-seeking behavior by providing people with the information they need to recognize a mental health disorder and to find help.
Do More for 1 in 4 provides information on 5 different types of the most common mental health disorders, including AD/HD, anxiety disorders (panic, obsessive-compulsive, post-traumatic stress, phobia), bipolar disorder, and clinical depression. The campaign also outlines where to go for help, as well as the first steps for finding help.
The second theme for the month, “Healing Trauma’s Invisible Wounds,” focuses on the impact of traumatic events on individuals and communities. Trauma includes interpersonal violence (abuse, rape, domestic violence, bullying), social violence (war, terrorism, living under oppressive political regimes), natural disasters and accidents, chronic social stressors (racism, sexism, poverty, humiliation, cultural dislocation), and childhood trauma.
This theme is focusing on key messages about trauma, such as: the aftermath of trauma is costly to victims and the entire community, healing from trauma is possible, and addressing trauma is key to successful treatment, among many other messages.