May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, organizations across the country turn their focus to increasing mental health awareness through outreach, activities and fundraising campaigns.


Mental Health Awareness Month (also referred to as "Mental Health Month") has been observed in May in the United States since 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization. Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, MHA, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year. This year's theme is Tools 2 Thrive and covers some of the following topics:

  • Dealing with anger and frustration

  • Adapting after trauma and stress

  • Getting out of thinking traps

  • Processing big changes

  • Taking time for yourself

  • Radical acceptance

Today, there are numerous ways to participate and support the mission of Mental Health Awareness month. Earlier this month, The Child Mind Institute announced the launch of Getting Better Together, the non-profit’s annual mental health awareness campaign focused on supporting kids who are struggling and lending powerful voices to help eliminate stigma. The campaign features notable celebrities (as well as kids and teens) speaking candidly about their personal experiences of struggle and resilience.


After more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic profoundly disrupting families’ lives, children continue to experience greatly exacerbated mental health and learning challenges. Video testimonials from Child Mind highlight how we can recover from a traumatic event or a mental health challenge, providing hope and sharing the important message that reaching for help is the first powerful step.


Celebrities including Emma Stone (a member of the Child Mind Institute board of directors), Zoe Saldana, Bebe Rexha, Harry Shum Jr, Liza Koshy, Billie Lourd, Gabourey Sidibe, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Jordana Brewster, Jazz Jennings, Nicole Scherzinger, Diego Boneta, Lexi Underwood and Meg Donnelly are among those who made videos, along with kids and teens from across the country. The videos will be shared throughout the month of May – Mental Health Awareness Month – on the Child Mind Institute’s social platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn) and website.


“Our children continue to face great challenges after a year of far reaching disruption brought by the pandemic,” says Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president of the Child Mind Institute. “The messages from these role models and brave children go a long way to offer hope, encouragement and inspiration.”


We know the basis of mental health begins in childhood and plays into well-being throughout life,” says Kimberley Goode, senior vice president of External Affairs at Blue Shield of California. “That’s why we’re pleased to sponsor the Child Mind Institute’s Getting Better Together campaign. It’s a dynamic approach to help reduce stigma and get more people talking about youth mental health; it aligns really well with the goals of our BlueSky initiative.”

Since 2017, the Child Mind Institute’s annual mental health awareness campaigns have featured notable individuals including Emma Stone, Bill Hader, Margot Robbie, Octavia Spencer, Andrew Garfield, Reese Witherspoon, Antoni Porowski, Gabrielle Union, Jameela Jamil, Gillian Anderson, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonah Hill, Julianne Hough, Kevin Love, Lena Dunham, Mark Ronson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Misty Copeland, Sarah Silverman, Zoey Deutch, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Bo Burnham, Emma Chamberlain and more.


Key Youth Mental Health Stats

  • 1 in 5 young Americans struggles with a mental health or learning disorder and today 5 in 5 are facing increased anxiety, fear, and uncertainty because of the pandemic.

  • Half of mental health disorders begin before age 14, and 75% by age 24.

  • 17.1 million young people in the US will have a mental health disorder by age 18 — more than the number with AIDS, asthma, diabetes, and cancer combined.

  • Almost two thirds of kids with a mental health disorder don’t get identified or treated.

  • Untreated mental health disorders increase risk of school failure, drug abuse and suicide.

  • Stigma is often the top reason why kids don’t get help. Our public awareness campaigns aim to change this.

Increasing mental health awareness will continue to be of vital importance especially as we begin to face the long term effects of the pandemic. We're excited to share in this initiative and look forward to building a stronger understanding as the movement grows year over year.


Resources:

  • Child Mind Organization

  • Mental Health America

  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)

  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

  • National Institute of Mental Health

  • National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

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