Sunday, May 01, 2011

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental Health Month was created more than 50 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness and promoting good mental health for all.

During Mental Health Awareness Month professionals, organizations, schools, communities, hospitals and even media outlets will join together in an effort to raise the awareness about mental health and attempt to decrease the stigma that prevents people from getting the help they need.

If you have a mental illness or love someone who does, reach out to the many community resources and planned events this month. Link here for state and local MHA affiliates.

Remember, there is no shame living with a mental illness.


Wanda's Wings said...

I have lived with mental illness all my life. My first suicide attempt was when I was 12 years old. I have bipolar disorder and PTSD . My daughter has schizo-affective disorder and major depression. Before my son death. he suffered from major depression and agoraphobia and panic disorder. Mental illness has caused a lot of strain and misunderstanding about my family. My own mental illness eventually cost me my job do to poor medication control. I think awareness is so important and may reduce the stigma of having a mental illness. Thanks for putting out the word and you support.

Dawn said...

I hate that there's so much stigma around mental illness. Even in my own life I cannot tell people about my struggles. Sometimes I just wish it was easier to explain but so many people believe only what they see on tv and base all their opinions around that.

Kahless said...

I keep my depression hidden at work. There is stigma.

Dr. Julia Becker said...

So many of my patients feel ashamed about seeking treatment, and these negative feelings can get in the way of making progress in therapy. The stigma of mental illness causes so much secrecy. Many people express feeling very alone with their depression and do not realize how common it truly is.

Johnnysmooth said...

Mental illness, despite all the advances and even TV ads promoting meds for such, still has a significant social stigma. It has improved ever so slightly, but not nearly enough for people to come forth and not just those that suffer directly from having a mental illness, but those who are close.

I have personally struggled with such as my ex has several mood disorders. Ultimately, I could no longer be there for her on a day to day basis which led to divorce. Now, with some emotional distance, plan to be a good friend of hers and support her as needed.

My son and I are now looking to start a company that will assist those with these disorders by improving the doctor/therapist-patient relationship through the use of a mobile healthcare app. We currently have a survey up to get some initial input from the community. Please take the time to respond and thanks in advance:

Sarebear said...

In an ideal world there may be no shame, but I have a hard enough time struggling against the illnesses themselves, let alone the shame I feel at illness-associated behaviors. I am very ashamed of things I have done influenced by illness, and I suppose this is different than being ashamed OF your illness, but it can lead to that.

I can't NOT be ashamed of some of the things I've done, because well anyone would be, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't shame you for that behavior regardless of whether it was mental illness-related or not.

So because of this, I feel ashamed of my illnesses because of the urges that sometimes seem to become uncontrollable (that statement produces it's own set of shame, because one "should" be3 able to control ones' self.)

Dr. Deb said...

It is always so humbling to me when my blogfriends share their own narratives regarding mental illness. It feels to me that we share a common connection of knowing what it is like to live with an illness and be stigmatized by it as well. Maybe one day, awareness will rid the myths of mental illness altogether.

I agree. I think you need to be mindful about the people you do and don't share your personal story with. In a way, holding that notion perpetuates stigma, but until backward thinking is gone, you must be cautious.

Wise decision. Even experts in the field caution about disclosure.

Dr. Becker,
You are SO right. If only everyone realized how common it is to struggle, perhpas stigma might not have such a hold on mental illness.

The social stigma of mental illness is perhpas more prevalent now, in spite of research and evidence regarding neurobiology etc.

There is no one like you. You are unique and everything good, bad and inbetween makes you singular. If only more people understood that sometimes our behaviors are tough to control, there'd be less shame.

Broken Soul said...

I have been battling with depression all my life. It is such a daily struggle and one I cannot seem to grasp.

My grandmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I was diagnosed with Bipolar and then re-diagnosed with having a mood disorder NOS.

It is a hard journey especially with those who are in my life like my husband.

Casdok said...

Mental health affects so many people at different times in their lives. In this day and age it is so sad that we are not more open to everyone.
I am struggling at the mo so i understand the difficulties.

Dr. Deb said...

Broken Soul,
Indeed, it can be a hard journey. The most important thing is to have the support of family and friends.

You do so much advocacy and awareness education. Like you, I feel the same way -- "Why are people not open to understanding more?"

Jennifer is Always Sick said...

I was diagnosed with dysthymia a few years ago, and before that I was treated with depression when I was a teen. I never knew about Mental Health Month until just a few days ago. I'm glad to know now, to spread the word and raise awareness. It's hard not to feel ashamed and worried about the stigma that is attached to having a mental illness.