Updated: May 21
#MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #TogetherForMentalHealth #Together4MH #BackToBasics #ReduceTheStigma #StressManagement #SelfCare #SelfNurturing #Wellness #IntellectualWellness #EmotionalWellness #SocialWellness
The green ribbons on TV ads, on posters, and around social media signal your welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month! According to NAMI, one in five adults have or have had symptoms of mental illness. There are different mental health conditions (generalized anxiety disorder, substance use disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation to name a few) each with its own unique symptoms that impact the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. These changes impact daily lives including a person's social, professional, and personal life. Annually in the U.S. since 1949, we pause to reflect on the importance of overall well-being. The theme for 2022 is "Back to Basics." To understand this theme, we will take a short trip back in time to where it all began; starting with a man named Clifford Whittingham Beers.
Born March 30, 1876, Clifford W. Beers was born to Ida and Robert Beers and was one of five children. The family was stricken with tragedies early on. One of Clifford's siblings died in infancy and another sibling began having seizures as a teenager. He was a Yale graduate and worked on Wall Street. When one of his teenaged brothers died as a result of seizures, Beers had what would be later characterized as his first bipolar episode. He was hospitalized. He attempted suicide and was ultimately in Connecticut hospitals and institutions for mental health care for three years.
Beers had two other siblings who also would go on to have stays in mental institutes and died in those institutes by suicide. After these incidences, Beers was subjected to wearing a straight jacket for 21 days and went on to lose his ability to speak. However, Beers would turn to pen and paper and wrote of his experiences, the abuses he suffered in mental institutions. His autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, became a best seller and is still in print today. Later in his journey, Beers teamed up with William James the philosopher and Adolf Meyer a psychiatrist and they would form the National Committee for Mental Hygiene in 1909 (now named Mental Health America). Beers also formed the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, Connecticut in 1913, the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States. In 1930, the committee hosted the first International Congress on Mental Health with over 3,000 attendees from 41 different countries.
The work that Beers pioneered did not end with his death on July 9, 1943. Twenty years later, in 1963, Congress passed the Community Mental Health Centers Act. This act provided federal funding for community mental health centers and research facilities in the United States and led to deinstitutionalization. Twenty-seven years after that, the Americans with Disability Act passed in 1990. This civil rights law prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs.
Today, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. The mission of MHA is much the same as when Beers was alive, promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research and services.
How can we observe Mental Health Awareness Month? One way is by taking care of ourselves. Here at Envision Coaching & Consulting, we champion engagement in self-nurturing activities to increase overall well-being. By making a commitment to self-care we normalize some of the same activities that persons with mental health conditions can utilize to manage some of their symptoms. Another way we observe Mental Health Awareness Month is by taking care of our loved ones; check-in on them and offer your support and encouragement. Show them and others in our communities that we are allies by donning the green ribbon. We can also observe Mental Health Awareness Month by being unafraid to discuss wellness and mental health. We remove the sting and stigma by normalizing it and normalizing seeking immediate care for mental health conditions. Finally, we observe it by keeping a list of resources handy. We never know when we or someone we know and love could use resources. For your convenience, we have included MHA's crisis resource list below.
Mental Health America Crisis Resource List:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Disaster Distress Helpline The national Disaster Distress Helpline is available for anyone experiencing emotional #distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to be connected to a trained, caring counselor, 24/7/365. disasterdistress.samhsa.gov
Crisis Text Line Text MHA to 741741 and you’ll be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line provides free, text-based support 24/7.
Trans Lifeline Dial 877-565-8860 for US and 877-330-6366 for Canada. Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers.
Dial 2-1-1 If you need assistance finding food, paying for housing bills, accessing free childcare, or other essential services, visit 211.org or dial 211 to speak to someone who can help. Run by the United Way.
National Domestic Violence Hotline For any victims and survivors who need support, call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
StrongHearts Native Helpline Call 1-844-762-8483. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.
The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
Caregiver Help Desk Contact Caregiver Action Network's Care Support Team by dialing 855-227-3640. Staffed by caregiving experts, the Help Desk helps you find the right information you need to help you navigate your complex caregiving challenges. Caregiving experts are available 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET.
The Partnership for Drug-free Kids Helpline Call 1-855-378-4373 if you are having difficulty accessing support for your family, or a loved one struggling with addiction faces care or treatment challenges resulting from COVID-19 circumstances, the Partnership for Drug-free Kids' specialists can guide you. Support is available in English and Spanish, from 9:00 am -midnight ET weekdays and noon-5:00pm ET on weekends.
Physician Support Line The Physician Support Line is available at 1-888-409-0141 every day from 8:00 AM - 1:00 AM ET. Physician Support Line is a national, free, and confidential support line service made up of 600+ volunteer psychiatrists to provide peer support for other physicians and American medical students.
Being aware of our overall health empowers us to detect any symptoms and seek professional help when necessary. Raising awareness for mental health can help us each understand any symptoms we or our loved ones may be experiencing, help us find professional help, and aid in breaking the stigma that leaves so many alone and suffering in secret. Normalizing self-care actions to manage stress and normalizing that, "It's OK not to be OK," or even "You are not alone," may be just the message someone needs to reach out and seek help. I hope that you have found the information provided useful. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Wherever you are on this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Until next time. Happy reading.
"As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson
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