May is officially National Mental Health Awareness Month (aka Mental Health Month). Mental Health Awareness Month was created with the goal of reaching out to millions of people across the US through media, local events, and screenings to raise awareness of mental health issues.
In 2014 President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation for National Mental Health Awareness Month. This was done to help bring more awareness to millions of people suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In this proclamation President Obama stated that the United States is committed to understanding and treating people suffering from mental disorders to get the help they need and to end the stigma that goes along with these diagnosis.
“Over the course of a year, one in five adults will experience a mental illness, yet less than half will receive treatment. Because this is unacceptable, my Administration is fighting to make mental health care more accessible than ever. Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we are extending mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to over 60 million Americans. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer deny coverage or charge patients more due to pre-existing health conditions, including mental illness.”
One organization devoted to Mental Health Awareness Month is the National Health America where they provide different educational opportunities to diverse groups and organizations based on different themes. The theme for 2018 is “Fitness #4Mind4Body”
NHA provides this kind of education by reaching out to community mental health organizations, such as MHA – (Master of Health Administration or Master of Healthcare Administration) and also DBSA – (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) giving them tools and strategies to help more people. They are helping people of all ages share their stories and learn more about prevention and intervention as well as supporting more research on mental health.
Another organization participating this month is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They believe that mental health issues need to be talked about year round but that in May specifically highlighting the issue heightens the awareness. It’s a time for those working to help millions of people come together and share what they are doing and how to keep improving a system that isn’t meeting the needs of this nation. They are advocating for more research, more prevention and treatment.
President Obama and these organizations are trying to open the communication so more people can be helped. May is the month to get involved in your community to help get more resources to people in need.
To learn how you can get involved, visit www.MentalHealth.gov
Asking for help is the first step to getting the help you need. Reaching out for resources in your community is important. Talking about what you are experiencing will help of a licensed professional. Please find below a list of some additional mental health resources.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers immediate assistance for all Americans, including service members and veterans, at 1-800-273-TALK.
National Health America
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
National Alliance on Mental Illness
EMDR Therapist Directory: If you are needing a therapist and are interested in EMDR Therapy, please go to the EMDR Therapist Directory for a list of available therapists in your area that practice EMDR Therapy