May is Mental Health Awareness month, and a time to reduce the stigma and raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues. Living through a pandemic in the last twelve months has made this awareness all too familiar for some and has shed light on the importance of removing the stigma about mental health. A mental illness can affect anyone, just as a physical illness can affect anyone. Consequently, everyone deserves a pathway to help and compassion.
Millions of adults and children across the country experience mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly one in five Americans live with a mental health condition and nearly fifty percent of us will experience a mental health challenge in our lifetime. Research shows that many people do not reach out for support. For young people, an average of 6 to 8 years passes from the time they first experience symptoms to the time when they get help.
People can and do recover from mental illness, and with the right support and treatment, many report a reduction in symptoms and a better quality of life. Just as physical health is important for people to reach their full potential, mental health is also crucial and allows people to cope with life’s stressors and be a contributor in their community.
Lime green is the national color for mental health awareness, and wearing a lime green ribbon is a great way to show support and open a dialogue with friends, family, classmates and co-workers about mental health. So where to start and what would a dialogue look like?
Here are some resources to help you help yourself and others:
- California’s Mental Health Movement
- Mental Health Support Guide
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- Five Ways to Help Your Kids Take Charge of Their Mental Health
- 11 Bay Area Leaders in Youth Mental Health Services
- Bay Area Mental Health Resource List
- Mental Health America 2021 Toolkit Access
- Recognizing the Lesser-Known Suicide Warning Signs