As you probably know by now, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Established in 1949, the month recognizes the importance of mental health/mental wellness and celebrates recovery for those with mental illness. The 2023 theme is "More Than Enough."
Mental Health Awareness Month is different than Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. May is a month-long focus on Mental Health, while October is a week about busting the stigma of Mental Illness. Both are vital!
Mental Wellness is "more" than "just" not having a mental illness.You can certainly not have a diagnosable mental illness and still be mentally unhealthy. Mental Wellness includes being resilient, having healthy coping skills, and taking care of yourself. It's being mindful, in the here and now—thinking clearly, feeling emotions, being connected to others.
According to NAMI, Mental Health Awareness Month (https://nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month)[is] "an opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background or ability. We want every person out there to know that if all you did was wake up today, that's more than enough. No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough."
Mental Health Awareness Month reminds us it is okay to take a break. It's okay to step away and recharge. It's important to honor your mental wellness. We remember that mental health is part of overall health. It's great when you do things that make you feel mentally strong!
Most of us knows what makes us physically strong, but what makes us mentally strong? It's individualized, that's for sure. What helps lift my mood might not do the same for you. It is worth the time to identify your mental health avenue. Yoga, meditation, prayer, walking, running, singing, cooking, talking, making art…
What works for you?
What brings YOU peace?
What busts YOUR stress?
What brings YOU purpose?
What reminds you that YOU are enough?
There are so many things you can do to build and celebrate your mental health. What's on your list? Perhaps taking a break from social media brings peace. What about enjoying a walk with a four-legged friend? How about doing some coloring? Can you find a few minutes to sit in the sun? Keep a gratitude journal, read a book, go to dinner with someone who makes you laugh or get a good night's sleep. The ideas are endless!
During Mental Health Awareness Month, supporters and advocates can help others understand what it means to be mentally well, how important it is to take care of mental health and why busting stigma about mental illness is part of the process. Perhaps it's time to join the local chapter of NAMI, donate to a local health agency, or talk to a friend about what it means to be in mental health treatment.
Today and always, remember: YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. You are the real deal! You are appreciated. You are strong, resilient and present. For that, we are grateful.
Want to learn more about Mental Health Awareness Month? Get thee to your favorite search engine or check out a few of these links.