May is recognized as Mental Health Month in an effort to promote a more positive, proactive approach to addressing mental illnesses. You can show your support and help end the stigma about discussing mental health issues the following ways:
1. LEARN Educate yourself about mental illness. You might find you have a lot of misconceptions. Check out this list of Myths and Facts (https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts) then don’t be afraid to speak up and share what you’ve learned with others in conversations or on social media.
Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem.
Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
- Helping them access mental health services
- Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true
- Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
- Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy"
2. GIVE Volunteer with local organizations or national ones like the National Alliance on Mental Illness and work to raise awareness events or assist with fundraising.
3. SHARE Be willing to open up about your own experiences and struggles. It could help someone else feel they aren’t alone and prompt them to seek out treatments.
4. NURTURE Practice good health habits like exercise, sleep and eating and encourage others to do the same to help with life balance and self-care.
5. LISTEN Develop a better listening ear. When you ask friends, family, or people from work or school how they are doing be sure you are sincerely listening and noticing their body language. If you or someone you know needs help or just needs a listening ear there are many great resources out there. Key Club has assembled a long list of including a Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741 for 24/7 support via text.