Shining a Light on Mental Health: Ways to Promote Awareness and Provide Support

Shining a Light on Mental Health: Ways to Promote Awareness and Provide Support

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has helped increase the awareness and understanding about mental health issues, as well as assist in reducing stigma and promoting overall mental well-being.

In the United States, one in five adults and one in six youth aged 6-17 live with a mental illness, and more than 60% of college students meet the criteria for at least one mental health problem. These numbers are especially important to note since 50% percent of all lifetime mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

What can you do to promote healthy mental well-being for yourself and others? Start by emphasizing the importance of self-care, stress management and overall mental well-being in your conversations. Sharing in the ways you or another practice self-care and find support can encourage others to find ways to access and benefit from available resources.

Here are 4 more ideas to get you started:

Educate yourself and others. Researching, reading and sharing resources helps educate and challenge misconceptions. It can also help break down barriers and promote the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help through available treatment options.

Have open conversations. Encouraging open and honest conversations and sharing personal stories about mental health with family, friends and coworkers creates a safe space. Having conversations about your journey or supporting others in theirs gives people the chance to discuss their experiences without fear of judgment or discrimination. It also makes everyone feel less alone by showing that mental health issues are common and can affect anyone.

Volunteer at mental health organizations. Volunteering at or contributing to mental health organizations that work toward reducing stigma and providing support to those in need helps foster connections and create a community around growing mental health awareness. This can include organizations that offer counseling services, helplines or advocacy programs.

Advocate for policy changes. Becoming aware of the current mental health policies in place creates an avenue for advocating and supporting policies that prioritize mental health. These may include increased funding for mental health services, improved access to care and workplace mental health initiatives. Write to your representatives, sign petitions or join advocacy groups to make your voice heard and become a part of the solution.

Ending the stigma and building awareness around mental health isn’t just for the month of May. It’s essential to find ways to do this every day throughout the year. Committing to prioritizing mental well-being fosters a society that is more understanding, supportive and inclusive of individuals with mental health challenges, in turn, benefiting us all.

BHWC Mission

To increase access to effective behavioral health services through coordinated initiatives to recruit, educate, and retain professionals in behavioral health.