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Mental Health Awareness Month
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness month. As an organization that advocates for individuals with mental illness, let us tell you why it’s important.
We’re All Affected
You probably know someone with a mental illness, such as serious depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder. It could be a family member, friend, or friend of a friend. Many of us are touched by it.
Although we have come a long way in educating the general population on mental illness, stigma still abounds. It’s often associated with descriptions like erratic, volatile, untrustworthy, and dangerous. This causes people to be ashamed of their mental illness, to not talk about it, and to not seek help for it.
Common responses to mental illness are: ‘You just need to toughen up’ or ‘You need to snap out of it.’ These comments are not helpful at all. In fact, they are detrimental, making individuals feel shameful, like there is something wrong with them. Fear of reproach keeps them silent and prevents them from seeking the help they need.
Mental Illness Does Not Define an Individual
What the mental health community wants you to know is this: mental illness is a medical diagnosis just like any other illness. If you have asthma, you use an inhaler. With cancer, you receive chemo treatment. With mental illness, you may take medication and seek professional guidance. The diagnosis does not define who one is as a person.
Ending the Silence
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has made great strides in alleviating the stigma around mental illness. Through their newest program, Ending the Silence, NAMI provides middle and high schoolers with a 50-minute educational class on mental illness. Young adults in recovery from a mental illness provide information on early warning signs and resources that can help. They also share their experience so the students can understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. NAMI is still compiling long-term impacts of the program, but the demand for it in schools is increasing.
NAMI Bucks Strides to End the Silence
One way you can help end the silence is by joining us this Saturday, May 13, for the NAMI Stride for Mental Health Awareness. If you are free, we would love to have you walk with the Voice and Vision Voyagers! If not, you can also make a donation towards the End the Silence Program, which will enable the NAMI team to reach more students.
More Ways to End the Silence
The best way to end the silence is by learning about a mental illness, and talking about it. TheMighty.com publishes articles written by individuals with mental illnesses about their experiences, and they provide good insight. NAMI also provides great articles educating us on different mental illnesses – what they are, what to expect, what it’s like to live with one. With a simple google search, you can also find plenty of articles on how you can interact with someone with a specific mental illness. If you know someone with a mental illness, engage with them. Listen to them. We think you’ll find they are beautiful, complex, and talented people.
You’ve made it this far along in the article, which indicates you want to participate in ending stigma around mental illness. So thank you! Your willingness to join the conversation is one small step to a larger impact. If you have other suggestions on how to end the silence and fight the stigma, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hi, I’m Kathryn Lerro, mother of two lovely daughters, wife of one fine man.
After 24 years of wandering (thanks to my husband’s Air Force career), we are back home on the East Coast. We currently live in Philadelphia where I enjoy writing, taking long walks, decorating my front window in South Philly tradition, talking to interesting people and eating great food.
As I’ve met people on my travels I’ve become keenly aware that most of us could use a healthy dose of encouragement. It is for this reason that I try to weave a message of hope into everything I write.
Hi, I am Melinda Haas, but you can call me Mindy. A true introvert, I delight in solitude with a good book or a movie. I like dabbling in nature photography while taking rigorous hikes. I adore my husband who is a ton of fun. He shares my wanderlust as well as my appetite for Indian and Thai food. Very often, you’ll find us dancing to Cumbia in the kitchen while we make dinner. We also love road tripping and exploring new places. (New England is our new favorite!)
Through my writing, I want to encourage and embolden others to push past the limits they place on themselves. I want to help people see that they can accomplish more than they think they were capable of.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website and blog is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to inspire, educate, offer hope and in some instances challenge attitudes and beliefs promoted in our society. We also provide information about Voice and Vision’s services and connections to basic resources in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, counseling, or treatment or cannot be used for identification of a diagnosis. Please seek help from a qualified physician or professional with any questions you may have regarding a physical, emotional or mental health condition, disability, or addiction.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed by the authors on the blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Voice and Vision, Inc. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.