How will you celebrate the month of May?

Yesterday was May 1st! Our associate mentioned that she casually wished a co-worker “Happy May Day” and her co-worker honestly had no idea what she meant by May Day. She was quick to explain that it is a holiday that has evolved over the years, but one that held special childhood memories for her, including dancing around a May Pole. Traditionally the month of May brings spring flowers, Mother’s Day, high school proms and graduations, college graduations and, of course, Memorial Day.

May is also Mental Health Month

This is not something new…since 1949 through the work of Mental Health America May has been celebrated as Mental Health Month. According to their website:

For 65 years, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. The 2014 May is Mental Health Month theme is “Mind Your Health.” Our goals are to build public recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness; inform people of the ways that the mind and body interact with each other; and provide tips and tools for taking positive actions to protect mental health and promote whole health.

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) celebrates May in many ways

NAMI was established in 1979 and is considered “as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. Dedication, steadfast commitment and unceasing belief in the NAMI’s mission have produced profound changes.

NAMI has been the driving force behind a national investment in lifesaving research, parity for mental health care, increased housing and to ensure that treatments and services are available to those in need when they need them most.”

NAMI actively promotes Mental Health Month and they recognize Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, May 4-10, with May 8th marking Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Mary Giliberti, J.D., NAMI Executive Director says it best:

“Highlighting mental health issues during May provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the 60 million Americans affected by mental illness. Together as a nation, we need to be the champions of new ideas, education and supports that improve both treatment and life outcomes for everyone who lives with mental illness. May is a time when we can embrace and advance this bold vision for the sake of our loved ones, ourselves and the one in four adults and one in 10 children affected by mental illness every year in the United States.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports events throughout 1100 communities and 136 national organizations to spread the word about Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

Is your interest peaked yet?

With today’s post we are attempting to provide a number of resources for our readers to utilize to learn more about mental illness and mental health. These resources are a way to start the conversation. And we have one more:

Their tag line is clear: “Let’s talk about it.” also provides a number of videos which feature people’s stories of hope and recovery. Today we would like to share actress Glenn Close’s story.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some final thoughts…

Every day the news is filled with headlines that ultimately have everything to do with mental illness and mental health: the high school boy who invites a classmate to the prom and when she declines he allegedly stabs her to death; the teen who plotted to bomb his school and kill his family, a man sentenced to death for killing a therapist he had never met before…there are too many to count.

This month all of us in the United States have an opportunity to start the conversation and learn about mental illness and understand that recovery is possible. It starts with a conversation…

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