Millions of Americans silently struggle with mental illness, which is why May is “Mental Health Awareness Month.” At ScriptSave WellRX, we want to support this important issue by increasing awareness, helping you learn how to support those who may be suffering from mental health conditions, and how to help yourself if you’re the one in need. Keep reading to learn about “how it’s OK to not be OK” and ways you can support and encourage positive mental health and well-being.
What Is Mental Health Awareness Month?
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness each year, and that suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 10–34? Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to learn about mental illness, raise consciousness of the issues and challenges faced by people with mental health concerns, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions so that people can get the help they need. Since almost everyone’s mental health has been impacted, at least to some extent, by the pandemic, and many of us have been socially isolated or have had limited contact, this year’s message is “You Are Not Alone.” The goal is to help prioritize mental health, help people connect in safe ways, and help everyone realize that it’s OK to not be OK.
Reach Out to Others
If you think someone you care about might have a mental health disorder, it’s a good time to reach out to show your concern and help them get help. If we feel uncomfortable with the idea of our loved ones not being OK, then it’s easy to sweep issues under the rug or turn a blind eye, hoping that they’ll just go away on their own. But mental illness often gets worse if left untreated. That’s why it’s so important to support and help others in need.
How Can You Help?
It’s not always easy to talk to someone about their mental health. Remember that it’s not up to you to self-diagnose or treat their condition, but you can show your concern and offer assistance. Set aside a quiet time to let them know that you’ve noticed they’ve been struggling lately, that you want to know how they’re feeling, that you’re there to support them, and that you want to help. You can offer to go to the doctor with them or let them know about resources that could get them started on the path to healing. A good place to start is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s free and confidential Helpline, which you can call to get more information and learn about mental health resources in your area.
What If You’re Struggling?
We often feel guilty about taking time out for ourselves, but daily self-care is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It means making yourself and your well-being a priority by engaging in activities such as:
- Getting regular exercise and ensuring you get enough quality sleep
- Eating a healthy diet (download the free WellRx Grocery Guidance App for inspiration and food tips that align with your wellness goals)
- Making time for relaxing activities, such as meditation, yoga, listening to music, or anything you enjoy that helps you destress
- Focusing on the things you have; gratitude can have a positive impact on mental health and overall wellness.
- Asking for help. This might mean asking for support from friends or loved ones, or recognizing when it’s time to bring in a professional.
Seeking Help Is a Sign of Strength
Reaching out for help is a sign of strength that shows you’re taking care of yourself and your needs. If you’re feeling like you can’t manage things on your own, you’re feeling stressed, you’re having relationship or family problems, or you’re struggling with anything else impacting your mental health, reach out to a professional. Talking to a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or another qualified mental health professional can help you identify the problem, help you work on any issues, and help you take charge of your mental health and wellness.
Stacy Mosel, LMSW, is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, and substance abuse specialist. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, she continued her studies at New York University, earning a Master of Social Work degree in 2002. She has extensive training in child and family therapy and in the identification and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Currently, she is focusing on writing in the fields of mental health and addictions, drawing on her prior experiences as an employee assistance program counselor, individual and family therapist, and assistant director of a child and family services agency