The human mind is the bedrock of human survival, but it seems physical fitness gets all the attention.
After a few minutes of scrolling through YouTube or some other social media feed, you’ll surely come across one reminder to be physically fit. With mental health, you’d have to search before getting relevant materials on your feed.
This necessitates a mental health awareness month to remind us to take care of our mental needs constantly. In the U.S. and some other countries across the globe, May is mental health awareness month.
While changing your profile pictures and donning the mental health awareness color are good steps during the period, there’s more you can do for yourself and those around you.
In this post, we‘ll look at how to celebrate the general mental health awareness month while awaiting men’s mental health awareness month in June.
Why Mental Health Awareness Month?
There are many reasons to set aside a month to beam more light on mental health. One of the major concerns is that there are far too many stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental health issues. And they need to be wholly addressed.
Ever found yourself often stressed, depressed, or mentally fatigued, but always told to “be a man,” “take a walk,” or “you’ll be fine”?
You might not feel better just because you have been told you’ll be fine. It takes more than a walk to get your mind back on track. And men don’t have some sort of special proof that shields them against mental heal health issues.
Your mental health requires nonstop care. It’s your way of life and how you see and react to everything around you. Also, it’s the care you give yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else around you.
More importantly, you should not feel ashamed or awkward that you’re making intentional efforts to take care of your mental needs and be the best you can be.
People are afraid to talk openly about their mental health issues or seek professional help because of how others may perceive them. Stuck in an internal battle with themselves without proper orientation on how to cope, they may gradually slip into more serious mental conditions.
These misconceptions and stigmas cost the world a lot. Many people who need mental health care are forgoing it, and the ripple effects extend to all parts of our society, from unstable familial relationships to workplace lapses. In search of coping mechanisms, some persons slip into substance abuse.
Considering all the factors, it becomes necessary to map out time to address mental health. Hence, May is mental health awareness month.
The History of Mental Health Awareness Month
More than one in five U.S. adults live with varying mental health conditions each year. A 2021 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 57.8 million U.S. adults live with Any Mental Illness (AMI), and about 14.1 million adults live with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), which costs U.S. $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
Of those living with AMI, less than 50% sought help in the past year, while 67.6% of those living with SMI sought help in the previous year.
For decades, the U.S. has been at the forefront of mental health awareness at home and abroad; truthfully, there’s been significant progress in that regard. Most of the U.S. population now recognizes the faults in stigmas and misconceptions that once limited mental health awareness.
Some of those who do not live with mental illness now know to support those who do and show solidarity during mental health awareness month by wearing a green ribbon, the mental health awareness color.
Thanks to the efforts of Mental Health America, the U.S. got to this level of widespread mental health awareness.
In 1949, Mental Health America, guided by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, started Mental Health Awareness Month to increase public awareness of mental health and mental health conditions.
After World War II, there was a huge spike in the prevalence of mental conditions and the symptoms across the population, especially among soldiers. For many, there was an obvious negative change in their behavior, mood, and perspectives, which indicated symptoms of poor mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Month helped many become more aware of their conditions and seek professional help.
As you already know, when asked, “When is mental health awareness month?” May is mental health awareness month.
Also, the success of the awareness month over the past years shed more light on gender-specific mental conditions. Therefore, we have added two months aside for men’s and women’s concerns. June is Men’s mental health awareness month, and March is Women’s mental health awareness month.
The Mental Health Awareness Color
For a good reason, green is the international symbol for mental health awareness color. During the awareness month, supporters of mental health awareness wear a green ribbon to show their support for people living with mental health conditions.
Green is symbolic because it signifies life, new beginnings, growth, and freshness. It also expresses positivity and health. You may have also noticed that pharmaceuticals often use green in their logo or products.
Research has also shown that green spaces (including natural environments) can reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. In fact, people who live near green spaces or create as many green spaces within their environment are way better at handling stress.
It’s clear why green is an obvious choice as the mental health awareness color.
By wearing a green ribbon this May, you’ll be showing your loved ones, colleagues, and everyone else that you support mental health awareness.
How to Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month
Thinking of how to celebrate mental health awareness month at work, at home, or in your community? There are many ways to celebrate mental health awareness month. However, how you celebrate may depend on the nature of the mental illness prevalent in your community.
Below are some mental health awareness month ideas for 2023 that will guide your celebration.
Key into Mental Health America’s 2023 Theme: Look Around, Look Within
“Look around, look within” is MHA’s theme for mental health awareness month this year. It’s a call to acknowledge the impact of our surroundings on mental health.
The theme cuts across four subthemes:
Safe and Stable Housing
Having a place to call home keeps your mind at ease — the safer, the better. Uncertainty and feelings of instability and insecurity hikes stress and anxiety levels.
If you’re in a position to help friends, family, or even strangers secure stable housing. Help push reforms for better community housing.
Also, if you live in an unsafe environment or cannot secure stable housing, do not be ashamed to ask family and friends in a better position for help. They could rent you a room at a low cost until you have better opportunities.
Healthy Home Environment
You need a home base that gives you a sense of peace, comfort, and support. Tidy and furnish your home and surroundings in a manner that makes you feel more positive and satisfied. Make sure that your space is well-ventilated.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a community not because it’s where you really want to be but because it’s closer to work, affordable, or where you grew up. People in a given community share a high degree of interconnectedness.
As an individual celebrating mental health month, consider putting more effort into strengthening your community. You may be unable to fund some needed amenities or singlehandedly stop gentrification, but you can advocate for better community policies.
Spring and summer are great seasons to immerse yourself in nature. Take advantage of the immeasurable positive effects of nature on mental health.
Take evening strolls in parks, grow a garden, take an interest in the wildlife in your backyard, consider having indoor plants, get enough sunlight, and/or join hiking/camping groups.
Learn More About Mental Health
A great way to support people with mental health issues or disorders is to learn how to recognize the triggers and symptoms and help them feel better.
Some common mental health issues to educate yourself on include:
- Addictions and other substance-related disorders
- Anxiety disorders. Did you know there is a link between gut and anxiety?
- Bipolar affective disorder
- Dissociation and dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Neuro-cognitive disorders, such as amnesia and dementia
- Neuro-developmental disorders, such as dyslexia
- Paraphilias, such as voyeuristic and sexual sadism disorder
- Personality disorders
- Sexual dysfunctions, such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction
- Sleep-wake disorders, such as insomnia
- Trauma and stressor disorders, such as PTSD
Many people are living with various mental health issues. It might be best to start by learning more about the ones people close to you are living with and find ways to help improve their lives.
In Between Learning, Watch Some Movies for Better Context
Movies have helped us develop contexts for a lot of things happening around us. Movies evoke empathy where it’s lacking. In the case of men’s mental health, not a lot has been done in that regard.
We have TV shows like The Sopranos depict a macho man, Tony Soprano, who, against all stereotypes and taunts from mafia crews about real men not going for therapies, went for therapies anyway. You’re expected to be a man and shake off whatever negativity you feel.
Some of such stereotypes are still propagated in the men’s community today. People who hold these stereotypes often do not understand how bad things are going for men with mental health issues.
If you’re trying to break out of those stereotypes or want to better understand mental health issues, consider watching these movies:
- A Beautiful Mind: Reflection on how mental health issues can affect the sufferer and those around them. Also, the path to recovery is not always well-defined.
- Beautiful Boy: An unrelenting father helps his son living with addiction retrace his path.
- Good Will Hunting: One can have it all, be a genius, and still have trouble with mental health issues.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A look at how traumas, existential anxiety, and bullying could ruin a child’s personality.
- Little Miss Sunshine: A bit of a comical look at stereotypes, mental health issues, and the value of family support.
There are other movies out there, but these would get you started on breaking the stigma between men and mental illness and gear up for Men’s mental health awareness month.
Be Available to People Living with Mental Health Conditions
Studies show that suicide rates in America increase dramatically during spring and summer, often due to seasonal depression in spring.
As you celebrate mental health month, be attentive to the concerns of the people around you. If you have someone living with mental health conditions, help them and spend time with them when you can.
Find activities that could help alleviate their depression and stress levels and improve their mood and focus.
Spread the Awareness
You can make more people aware by doing the following:
Fly the Color
Green is the mental health awareness color. Wear it (ribbons, pins, t-shirts), encourage landmark buildings in your neighborhood to light up with green, and add some greenery to your home or surroundings.
Create or Join the Discussions
Create or join mental health awareness discussions at home, in your neighborhood, in social media groups, and at your workplace.
Encourage your employers to integrate mental health considerations into work schedules throughout the month or just for a week.
Use the Hashtags
Many mental health organizations will be showing their support for mental health awareness on various social media platforms throughout the month. Use their hashtags to make the information they are passing have a wider reach.
Mental Health Awareness With Craft Medical
At Craft Medical, we’re all about providing lasting, evidence-based education and solutions to men’s mental health issues, including but not limited to sexual dysfunctions, anxiety, depression, emotional fatigue, and stress.
As part of our commitment to bettering men’s lives, we’re always open to all your inquiries on men’s mental health.
We have access to a wealth of resources and a rich network of mental health experts who will use research-based methods to help you, your spouse, friend, son, or colleague deal with their mental health issues.