Mental Health Awareness Month

by Sejal Sangani and Ryan Brady

Trigger warning: This article focuses on subjects that may be triggering to those who have suffered from mental illnesses, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.

DISCLAIMER: This is the last of a series of articles regarding mental health. This issue focuses on Mental Health Awareness Month. We are not experts on this topic, but are doing our best to spread accurate and valuable information. If you have any tips or concerns, please contact us at rbrady20@hb.edu or ssangani20@hb.edu. We hope that our series has helped you learn more about mental health!

May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. However, it’s not something that a lot of people know about. Although May is coming to a close, we hope that you choose to get more involved in educating yourself about mental health this month. This year’s theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body and “CureStigma”.

Mental Health Awareness Week, as recognized in the UK, was May 14-May 20, and the theme was stress. Since finals are coming up (sorry for the reality check), it’s important to prioritize your mental health during this busy time.

We’ve compiled a list of ways that you can help raise awareness about mental health and support yourself this May. Remember, mental health is a broad term that doesn’t just encompass mental illnesses – anyone can be struggling with mental health and could use a helping hand!

WAYS TO SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK/MONTH::

  1. Buy a green support pin here.
  2. Participate in the daily #4Mind4Body challenge here.
  3. Work with NAMI to alert your politicians about mental health issues here.
  4. Learn something new about mental health (seriously, it can be as easy as learning one new fact – read our previous articles if you haven’t already!)
  5. Educate yourself about different mental illnesses and mental health challenges that are unprecedentedly prevalent today. Lots of good information on this site!
  6. Join a NAMIWalks team here. Multiple walks promoting mental health awareness are happening around the country starting this June.
  7. Share what you’ve learned, especially information on why mental illness is not something to be ashamed of and is very valid, on social media to educate others using the #CureStigma.

WAYS TO SUPPORT YOURSELF AND OTHERS DURING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH:

  1. Check out this year’s toolkit which contains a multitude of mental health resources and fact sheets:
  2. As simple as this may sound, remember to eat regularly and get enough sleep! For teenagers, it’s 7-9 hours a night. Especially with finals around the corner, it is imperative that we are all watching out for our health.
  3. Create a “destress” kit. Gather a few things that help you relax and put them in an easily accessible box that you can reach for whenever things start to feel overwhelming. Examples include stress balls, coloring book, lotion, headphones, etc.
  4. If you’re going through a rough patch, don’t be afraid to reach out to a counselor, family member, friend, or one of us!
  5. Know the signs and symptoms. There are several warning signs of mental illness that could culminate badly if left unnoticed or unmentioned. If you notice someone who is struggling with similar symptoms to those of mental illness, reach out to them or another trusted person such as a teacher, family member, or friend.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness or suicidal ideation and needs help, reach out to a trusted adult such as your mentor, Ms. Biggar, or Ms. Lurie or call one of hotlines below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

National Hopeline Network – Toll-free telephone number offering 24-hour suicide crisis support. 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). (National Hopeline Network)

The Trevor Project – Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Includes a 24/7 hotline: 1-866-488-7386.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – Free, confidential 24/7 helpline information service for substance abuse and mental health treatment referral. 1-800-662-HELP (4357). (SAHMSA):

ADAMHS Suicide Crisis Hotline: 216-623-6888: