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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. For 2022’s Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI will amplify the message of “Together for Mental Health.” We will use this time to bring our voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements and national events.

One in five adults experiences a mental health condition each year. This means mental illness stigma affects a significant chunk of the American population, including people in offices and worksites across the nation.  These numbers rose through the pandemic as people struggled with grief, isolation, economic hardships, and anxiety related to COVID-19. Because mental illness is so prevalent, conversations about mental illness are more important than ever but, that doesn’t mean these conversations are easy. Breaking the stigma and common misconceptions surrounding mental illness allows us all to live healthier and happier lives. Stigma is when someone, even yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Learning how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us, especially when you realize stigma’s effects:

  • People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.
  • Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States.
  • Even though most people can be successfully treated, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need.
  • The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans.

Many people living with mental health conditions often don’t feel comfortable talking to friends and family. Even worse, individuals living with mental illness often internalize the stigma that exists in our culture, damaging hopes for recovery. Being aware of the language we use can be a good first step to reducing stigma.

You can read a message from the HCPF Executive Director regarding mental health awareness month in Colorado through this link.

You can also read the White House’ A Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2022 thought this link.

To learn more about NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Mental health Awareness month, you can visit NAMI’s website through this link.

Every day brings new hope. Every day, we have an opportunity to help create broader understanding of mental health, overcome stereotypes and break down barriers. We can all do a little bit more each day to eliminate stigma and replace it with help and hope.