May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May marks 70 years in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme, “Strength in Community,” is worthy of celebration. Did you know that one in five people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime? Each year in May, the National Alliance on Mental Health along with many other advocates and people across the country come together to help fight the stigma of mental health, provide support, and educate the public about mental illness? Also, these advocates work nonstop as they fight for policies that help support people with mental illness and their families. Here are several reasons why you should care about Mental Health Awareness month and what you can do to help us celebrate throughout the entire month of May.

Understand the Facts About Mental Illness

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition.

  • 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness.

  • 43.8 million people in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.

  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.

  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of whites in the past year, and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.

  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but suicide is preventable.

  • The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90% of individuals experience significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with the right treatments and supports.

Although these facts are staggering it helps demonstrate the reality of mental illness and we can see its impacts are far-reaching. Also, it helps us understand why there are so many health systems and advocates working so hard to remove the stigma around mental illness and improve access to care.

How You Can Help?

Even though we may feel comfortable talking about our overall health with our co-workers and friends it is often more difficult to talk about whether or not we’ve received treatment for depression or anxiety. In fact, due to the stigma around mental health people may even avoid talking about it altogether. However, this month we’d like to encourage you and invite you to help us promote and create more dialogue around mental illness. By doing this we can all play a role in helping to reduce the stigma around mental health illness and help individuals take their first step towards healing.

Resource Available

If you’d like to share any data, graphics or even your own personal story on social media to help continue the conversation and help make this message go viral that would be great. The National Alliance on Mental Health offers some good resources to help promote Mental Health Awareness month. Also, you can find a lot of great resources at the National Council of Behavioral Health Website.

Please join us in celebrating Mental Health Awareness month! Together we can find “Strength in Community” knowing we’ll not only be helping our friends and family but showing them our support by talking more openly about mental health.  


Colin Eggleston