May Celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month
By Guest Blogger Jessie Brown, MA, Director of Programs, National Alliance on Mental Illness-St. Louis chapter (NAMI)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and has been observed since 1949. The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to fight stigma that surrounds mental health. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), NAMI St. Louis and other NAMI affiliates throughout the nation are doing this by (1) spreading awareness to the public through advocating for policies that support those living with mental health conditions; (2) educating the public on mental health, along with ways to promote healthy mental health; and (3) providing support to those living with mental health conditions, as well as their loved ones and the community as a whole.
Here are a few statistics that demonstrate why it is imperative we take care of our mental health and bring awareness to this important topic:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental health conditions each year, and less than half of them receive treatment.
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth ages 6-17 experience a mental health condition each year, and about half of them receive treatment.
- 50% of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10-14.
- The average delay between onset of symptoms of a mental health condition and treatment is 11 years.
- Per NAMI National’s website, NAMI strongly supports policies that decrease barriers to – and improve continuity of – life-saving SSDI and SSI benefits for people with severe mental health conditions whose symptoms prevent regular, ongoing employment. For more information on NAMI resources regarding disability benefits, visit nami.org.
This year, NAMI’s campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month is the “More Than Enough” campaign. This campaign is an opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background or ability. We want every person out there to know that if all you did was wake up today, that’s more than enough. No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough (NAMI, 2023).
How to get involved:
- Share mental health resources like NAMI and the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988.
- Use the hashtag #MoreThanEnough when posting about mental health in the month of May.
- Schedule some time in your day to do something nice for yourself and care for your mental health.
- Check out NAMI.org for more information on mental health, resources, and ways to spread awareness in your community.
To find out more about NAMI St. Louis, services offered and how to get involved, visit www.namistl.org.
Editor’s note: Allsup helps individuals living with a mental illness or other mental conditions apply for SSDI and return to work.