I am not sure everyone knows that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is important to acknowledge this and understand how this impacts our students every year and in some cases, every day.
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the month of May, NAMI and the rest of the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger. In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and brought the issue of mental health to the forefront of our nation’s thoughts. (Source)
Here are some suggested activities that you can get involved in this month to help raise awareness for mental health awareness:
- Governor or Mayor’s proclamation: Get your local leader to officially recognize May as Mental Health Month.
- Feature story in print or television media about a NAMI member or family: Help get your story out there for people to read.
- Health fair participation: Share information about mental illness and mental health resources.
- Art exhibit or concert: Feature artists with mental health connections or experiences or donate the ticket proceeds to NAMI.
- DIY Fundraising: Plan an event around your interests as a fundraiser for mental health.
- Poetry reading or play: Share poems about mental health to educate friends and family.
- Bookstore displays: Feature books about mental health or have an author come in and sign copies.
- Donation of mental health books to libraries: Help educate the public especially those who may not normally have access to information.
- In Our Own Voice presentations: Listen to people share their stories of recovery.
- Movie screenings: Screen Frankie & Alice and Call Me Crazy that feature mental health in a holistic or positive way.
- Faith-oriented events: Discuss mental health in your place of worship.
- Candlelight vigil: Honor someone you have lost and talk about ways to improve resources in your community.
What is more — Mental Illness effects our students in serious ways. Check out these amazing resources for university students (also applicable for all students and those suffering or supporting):
Student and Young Adult-Specific Resources
American College Health Association
APA’s College Mental Health Page
Beyond OCD: Overcoming OCD – The College Student’s Guide
Campus Health and Safety
NAMI’s Networking Site for Young Adults with Mental Illness
Screening for Mental Health, Inc: College Response
Suicide Prevention Resource Center – Information for College Students
Multicultural Organizations and Resources
HBCU Center For Excellence In Substance Abuse & Mental Health
Jewish Association for the Mentally Ill (UK)
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults
SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity
Active Minds: LGBQ Mental Health Resources
Active Minds: Transgender Mental Health Resources
Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling
A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children
Eating Disorders in LGBT Populations
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health
LGBT Populations: A Dialogue on Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions and Mental Health Problems
National Coalition for LGBT Health
PFLAG: Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays
The Trevor Project