Mental Health Awareness: Getting Involved

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as an organization that prides itself on empowerment and the encouragement of self-love, DOY is here to help you find out how you can get the conversation started.  

The year is 2016 and yet there still seems to be a lingering stigma of the past hovering over us.  Unlike physical health, mental health is not perceived, by most, quite as serious as say a broken arm or cancer. It’s time to put an end to that way of thinking.

I came across this video while I was browsing Facebook the other day and it seamlessly proves the need for change:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGJzPBjK67w

So, how can we join the movement? Where does the conversation start?

Well, first things first: You can go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (https://www.nami.org/stigmafree#pledge)  and sign their pledge against the stigma. They have a three step guide: Learn, See the Person Not the Illness, and finally Take Action.

Learn: In order to fully understand and ultimately get the conversation going the best thing you can do is research. What kind of mental illnesses exist? How many forms of a certain type are there? Educating yourself on the symptoms and being able to identify the types of illnesses are the first steps to eliminating general stereotypes surrounding mental illnesses.

They Are Not Their Mental Illness: There is more to a person than their appearance.  In similar fashion, a person is not defined by their mental illness.  Learn to separate the illness from the human being.  Remember: this is about seeing beyond their story, it’s about letting them know there are people out there rooting for them.

Take Action:There are numerous ways in which we can get involved in spreading awareness which include, but aren't limited to:

-Hold a mental health screening event (http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/)           -Check on friends and loved ones. Ask how they're really doing ana always be ready to listen.  Even if you can't help them it's nice to know someone really does care.                                        -Talk with your community leaders and encourage the recognition of mental health events.        -Educate yourself, educate others, encouragement non-judgmental speech.                                

For more ways to get involved visit: https://www.nami.org/ and  https://mentalhealthscreening.org/