The intent of designating certain days or months for the observance of any health condition is to raise awareness of both the condition and issues surrounding it; to promote dialogue; and provide information about treatment, advances in research, funding and care.
May 2016 as Mental Health Month attempts to provide all of the above through the various agencies and organizations that are associated with mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in association with the Hope & Grace Initiative has developed public service announcements aimed at reducing the stigma still associated with having a mental illness.
Mental Health America is promoting it’s theme for Mental Health Month “Life with a Mental Illness.” The organization is encouraging individuals to share their personal experiences with what it feels like to have a mental illness by sharing their accounts in words, images or videos on social media. Mental Health America suggests tagging those posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posts with the tag will be collected and featured on MentalHealthAmerica.net/feelslike.
The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has for its theme, “Cures Through Research.” This organization awards grants for scientific research to learn more about mental health, the brain and related disorders, from ADHD to anxiety, autism to schizophrenia. Their theme for Mental Health Month 2016 is “Cures Through Research.” The organization is making use of #ResearchCures to mark their social media posts throughout May, informing people of statistics, myths and information about brain and behavior research.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is participating in Mental Health Month 2016 with its theme of “Helping Kids Recover and Thrive.” This effort is aimed at helping those 18 years of age and younger to recover and thrive after a traumatic event in their lives. With SAMHSA citing the fact that two out of three children experience a traumatic event in their lives by time they reach their 16th birthday, this initiative appears much-needed.
Update May 16, 2016: In Britain, the young royals, Prince William, wife Kate Middleton and brother Harry launched the campaign, “Heads Together,” in London today. “Heads Together” is an effort to remove the stigma of mental health issues by bringing mental well-being into more and more conversations. The three young people will be working with various charities to promote the topic of mental health. Prince William shared that one of the goals of “Heads Together” is to normalize mental health and well-being as topics of conversation in the effort to reduce and remove the stigma associated with mental disorders and treatment.
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