Mental health is a topic on the minds of millions of Americans of late, the result of the global pandemic. Countless people across the world are struggling with anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. Fortunately, May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America (MHA) use the month of May as an opportunity to raise public awareness about the prevalence of mental health disorders and share with people what to do if they find themselves struggling.
Mental health is of vital importance always. However, 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges for the entire country. One in four Americans have filed for unemployment; uncertainty about the future abounds.
Isolation and self-quarantines have taken a dramatic toll on the entire population. What’s more, many Americans are not prioritizing their mental and physical well-being. It’s almost a guarantee that lasting damage will occur even when the COVID-19 crisis is contained.
This public health crisis will linger in our minds for years to come with more than 1.7 million reported cases of coronavirus in the United States and the loved ones of more than 100,000 people in mourning. It’s a certainty that there will be a significant uptick in post-traumatic stress disorder across the entire spectrum of demographics.
Those who lack the ability to cope with the trauma of loss or have pre-existing mental health disorders are at significant risk of responding in unhealthy ways. Self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors are usually the byproduct of lacking healthy coping mechanisms.
During these challenging times, it’s paramount to do what we can to educate the general public about the resources available and to remind everyone that they are not alone—we are all in this together.
Mental Health Month 2020
World Word II was the last global crisis that Americans faced. While the death toll of WWII was human-made, a pandemic has the power to make us all feel vulnerable. Four years after the end of the bloodiest war of all time, the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health) launched Mental Health Awareness Month.
We have come a long way since 1949, but many of the goals remain the same, such as breaking the stigma of mental illness, which prevents men and women from seeking help. Other purposes include educating the public that mental health disorders are treatable, faultless, and deserve parity.
Each May, the campaign to raise awareness is a top priority. This year’s theme is “You Are Not Alone.” Such a campaign couldn’t have come a better time considering the state of the world right now. NAMI encourages people to share information about mental illness online or share their stories with the broader public.
Given these isolating times, people living with mental illness need to be reminded that they have support and resources. Such individuals need to be reassured that they are not alone—millions of Americans are facing the reality of mental health disorders each day. One in five Americans combats the symptoms of mental illness each year.
You can play a critical role in helping to raise awareness or sharing your personal story of recovery with the world. According to a new study, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to a dramatic rise in “deaths of despair,” deaths due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Such deaths can be prevented if we all work together to support each other.
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