Mental Health Awareness Month

Along with May comes spring, warm weather, and the end of school. However, what you may be unaware of is that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Month first began over 70 years ago in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization. During this month, this movement does its best to raise awareness on mental health. They work hard to provide support to those struggling and advocate for those who can’t. 

The movement believes that it is important to prioritize your mental health not just this month, but always. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has especially been trying its best to push the narrative that “You are not alone.” If people knew that other people are going through the same struggles as them, then they would most likely feel more comfortable with coming forward and receiving the help that they need. 

It’s important to be able to identify if a friend/loved one is displaying signs of mental illnesses. Symptoms may include often feeling sad, confused, guilty, fearful, low energy, difficulty sleeping, or having extreme mood changes. Always be kind to people, even strangers because you truly never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. A simple smile or wave hello may have a bigger impact on someone than you know. 

Mental health is especially important to students because of the large amounts of work they’re given on a daily basis. With a large workload, it can become difficult to carve out time for yourself or others.

Remember to take a break every once in a while and try not to push yourself too hard. That being said, try to work hard in school, but make sure not to overdo it. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear of a student with a mental illness. Overall, every 1 in 6 students had enough symptoms to meet the criteria for one or more mental illnesses, the most common being anxiety disorders. Most of this anxiety stems from the stress caused by schoolwork.

There are many ways to help improve your mental health by doing simple tasks. Try to talk about your feelings because talking about how you feel will allow you to stay in a good mental space and better your communication skills if times get hard. Stay active in your day-to-day life, both physically and mentally, as trying to exercise your body and brain can help your mental health. Finally, take breaks every once in a while because your mind needs some time to collect its thoughts and relax for a bit.

Be sure to check up on your friends and help raise awareness about mental health wellness in any way you can. A simple phone call or text message to an old friend can make a person’s day. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.