As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to remind people that even though the month is over, they can still get involved and help break the mental health stigma. In this blog, we talk about a few of the anti-stigma mental health awareness campaigns we love.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is doing their part to end stigma by encouraging everyone to tell their stories with the WhyCare? campaign. NAMI’s WhyCare? campaign advocates the importance of mental health treatment, support, and services by normalizing the topic of mental health as a universal part of life that everyone can relate to.
The campaign promotes awareness through social media participation with hashtags #NAMICares and #WhyCare. What we love about WhyCare? is that it’s all about encouraging personal connection and storytelling, one of the best ways to evolve our culture to one of acceptance and empathy for mental illness.
By telling our personal stories about mental health, we can all do something to battle the common misconceptions about mental illness that keeps the stigma alive. WhyCare? Also promotes peer-to-peer support, information and resource sharing by giving everyday folks a platform to reach out and connect in meaningful ways with others in the community.
The campaign is gaining steam by raising support and advocacy through the simple concept of telling others you care about them, and that can change lives. This campaign enacts change when people start caring, a system that helps shape perceptions of mental illness for generations to come.
People are engaging in different ways, some of which include poetry, Instagram stories, inspirational quotes, song lyrics, photos, and videos. NAMI has different social communities such as OK2Talk and YouAreNotAlone to share stories of mental health triumph. These platforms allow for anonymous posting unlike the NAMI blogs or social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Mental illness affects 1 in 5 people. Whether it be a friend, neighbor, or a family member, odds are, someone you know may be struggling right now with mental distress. Resources like #NAMICares allow people who struggle with mental health to feel loved and feel like the people around them care.
Campaigns like #NAMICares work when everyone is willing to participate. We recommend sharing your story about why you care about other’s fighting for their mental health. This could also be how others have supported you throughout your mental health journey and what it means to have access to quality care.
This month, Mental Health America introduced an amazing challenge called the #4Mind4Body Challenge. This challenge introduced a new way to bring in small changes towards working towards a healthy mind and body on each day of May, or Mental Health Awareness Month. The point of the challenge is to create gains for overall wellbeing.
The goal of this challenge is to build habits that you can use throughout the rest of your life in order to have balance. We find ourselves running on empty and not taking care of what’s important: our mind and body. This challenge seeks to eliminate the barriers between physical health and mental wellbeing.
Even though this month is ending, you can still do the challenge for yourself and incorporate these great habits into your life. Take a look at some examples below.
On day 1, the goal is to look at what types of food we are consistently eating and what those foods contain. We should be eating more foods that have incorporated omega 3 fatty acids, b vitamins, folic acid, vitamin D, pre and probiotics and less processed foods, foods that are high in sugar, and foods that are full of bad fats. Eliminating the bad foods in our diet can actually reduce inflammation as well as the symptoms of depression.
On Day 2, the challenge urges you to take a break from your screen. Many of us spend all day looking at our phones or computers, whether it be for work, school, or entertainment. But sitting in front of the computer can make it hard to establish relationships with classmates or colleagues, which can be essential to our mental health.
Day 3’s challenge is a random act of kindness, and day 4 encompasses yoga and the strategies of meditation for healthier living. Check out Mental Health America’s website to see all 31 challenges and start over tomorrow for June!
It’s important to incorporate little challenges in your life to keep track of mental and physical wellbeing. These include getting enough sleep, getting proper nutrients, setting up annual doctor’s appointments, working out, drinking plenty of water, and noticing any changes that may be happening with your body. And what better way to remind yourself to do these things by participating in this challenge and sharing it on social media as a way to hold yourself accountable?
These are just two of the countless campaigns that people have started to break the mental health stigma. Even though Mental Health Awareness month is coming to a close, we don’t have to stop spreading awareness and working towards normalizing mental health. Let’s keep the conversation going!
Know someone in need of mental health care? Serenity Mental Health Centers treats complex cases and offers a variety of mental health treatments. Contact us to schedule an evaluation and learn about treatment options that can help.