Many of you may know that May is Mental Health Awareness month. Many of you may NOT know that this monthly designation has been in place since 1949 - a very long time. Why is mental health important? Here are some recent facts that punctuate the state of mental health in 2022:
- One in five children has experienced a mental health condition. Chances are, it has affected you family or someone you know well.
- 53% of today's adults with children are concerned about the mental state of their children
- There has been a 60% increase in the rate of suicide among 1-24 year olds from 2007 to 2018. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in this age group.
- Death by suicide among black youth has been increasing faster than any other ethnic group. Black children under the age of thirteen are two times more likely to die by suicide than same aged peers of other ethnic groups
No doubt most of you have some personal reasons to add to this list - the recognition that mental health is paramount is now clearer than ever in this post-pandemic era. So... what might one do to support mental health awareness? I'd suggest beginning with yourself - there are many things you can do to support yourself and others toward more positive mental health not only during May, but throughout the year. Those could include:
- Attend an event to support mental health awareness - donate to your favorite mental health provider
- Learn mental health first aid - it can help you both personally and professionally (www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course)
- Share your story with others (www.thisismybrave.org)
- Contact your legislators - thank them for their service and encourage them to make mental health a priority
- Learn more about your own mental health (there is a self-test at www.mhanational.org)
- Take care of yourself - there are dozens of brief mindfulness activities you can incorporate throughout your day
- Celebrate good news! Are you tired of all the doom and gloom? Seek out good news. One example is www.goodgoodgood.co
May is a great time to remember mental health is important to all of us and those we serve. Enjoy and learn!
Kevin Drollinger is CEO at Provident Behavioral Health and a Board Member of MCC.