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This year marks the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. Since its inception, we have certainly come a long way in terms of knowledge and treatment of mental illness. It’s individuals like you who continue the conversation, push for legislation change, and advocate for the right treatment, who make progress possible. However, we are not quite ‘there’ when it comes to eradicating stigma and getting people well. We still need to spread the word and encourage others to take care of their mental health.
To kick off the month, we are providing a little history as well as information on how you can be involved in spreading awareness.
To understand the mental health reform movement, we must look to the story of Clifford W. Beers. He was a young Yale graduate with a promising career on Wall Street when everything came tumbling down. His brother succumbed to an illness and died, which triggered the first of Clifford’s bipolar episodes. In his distress, he attempted to take his life by jumping out of a window. He survived but spent the next three years in institutions receiving ‘treatment.’
The inhumane experiences in the institutions spurred him to form Mental Health America in 1909. Over the years, the organization championed for reform in mental health treatments. In 1949, they started Mental Health Awareness Week to bring attention to their efforts. It has since extended to the entire month of May.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is my go-to resource for information and statistics on mental illness. They have information about the different mental health conditions as well as a guide to knowing the signs of mental illness.
Mental Health America’s website also contains a wealth of information. They have a mental health screening tool for anyone who thinks they may need help. Based on the results, they will provide resources for further assistance.
In 2018, Mental Health America focused on #4Body4Mind which encouraged physical health to improve mental health. This year, they are expanding the theme to include other ways to promote mental health, such as animal companionship, work-life balance, spirituality, humor, and recreational and social connections.
NAMI’s theme is #WhyCare, and they gathered facts and statistics as reasons why you should care about mental health.
Here are some easy ways you can spread awareness.
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.