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National Mental Health Month

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National Mental Health Month

National Mental Health Month has been designed to bring awareness to the struggles of people battling issues like depression and post-traumatic stress disorders. More than any sector of society, war veterans struggle, often in silence and use various mind altering substance to help cope with trauma.  In fact, based on recent data, veteran suicide rate has increased by 25 percent.

Women have also come to the forefront for concern when it comes to the expanded use of alcohol and drugs mostly as a way to deal with daily stress mental issues. Unfortunately, this type of self-medicating segues into another primary even more deadly condition known as addiction. Bringing awareness and help to people struggling with these issues is the primary reason for designating May as National Mental Health Month.

By opening up opportunities for dialogue about the various struggles facing people in our fast paced and highly stressful society, organizers hope will be validating and helpful in identifying risk factors, signs and symptoms of mental illness. This is a critical first step in getting help for individuals who desperately need it.  

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at least 43.8 million Americans experience some form of mental disorder annually. Mental health experts from the Council on Recovery also suggest that by the year 2020, mental health and substance abuse disorders will surpass physical diseases as primary forms of disability.  

Official recognition for Mental Health Awareness month begins on the third day of May this year.  This awareness program was initiated by Mental Health America (MHA) which is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing public awareness to the needs of those living with mental disorders.  The commitment to National Mental Health Month is to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness by providing:

  • Early detection and prevention services
  • Emergency interventions for those at high risk
  • Integrated care and treatment programs

MHA representatives say their work is guided by the Before Stage 4 philosophy that emphasize getting people into treatment long before a mental disorder becomes critical or lead to a suicide.  Mental health experts at drug treatment facilities, MHA, organizers for veteran services as well as various sectors of the general public will hose and attend events supporting National Mental Health Month.  

Over the years, MHA and affiliates across the country have successfully reached millions through various media and other events and screenings. The important message is that mental health is something that everyone should be aware of and care about.  As these programs continue each year, the stigma attached to mental health has been gradually decreasing. Surveys indicate that there has been a significant shift in negative attitudes associated with mental problems and a growing acceptance, concern and support for people struggling with mental health related issues.

This year the sponsors and organizers of National Health America will again host a number of activities that are based on the 2010 theme ‘Live Your Life Well’. ‘Live Your Life Well” and the 2016 “Life with a Mental Illness” to encourage people to take responsibility for their own mental health especially during periods of stress.  As will be pointed out by mental health experts, many problems can be avoided by making some positive lifestyle changes to enhance mental health. This event is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA). Other activities have included ‘Blogging for Mental Health’ and ‘Help for People Seeking Psychological Services” among others. Find out more by contacting Mental Health America to locate events and activities in your area.  

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