I have been pretty slack about keeping up with this blog for the past year or so...But, I am back.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and is intended to raise awareness about mental health and related issues. Although attitudes appear to be changing around the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness, negative attitudes have existed since the late 1940’s, when the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched. In the 1960’s, the campaign was extended to an entire month in May. During this month, we are encouraged to take responsibility for preventing mental illness by making positive lifestyle choices in thought and action before problems manifest.
It's also an opportunity to be a vocal advocate about educating others about the aspects of mental health issues which affect one in three Americans. Things have changed somewhat, but the bias and stigma associated with mental health disorders still exists.
Despite that, I no longer hide my disorder from others, regardless of their reactions. If I can help one person truly understand how with proper treatment, people like me, living with bipolar 1, can live totally normal lives and be active and successful participant in society, I've done some good. Some research even shows that people with bipolar disorder tend to be highly creative.
Some of the things I intend to do during Mental Health Month are:
- Write an op/ed and send it to local, regional, and national media outlets.
- I hope to do another commentary on NPR.
- I intend to pepper social media with facts about mental disorders.
What can you do?
- Much of the same.
- Educate yourself with facts and issues related to mental health issues.
- Engage other in conversations about mental health.
- Get involved with NAMI and other mental health advocacy organizations.
We're making progress, but we need to do more. Don't be afraid to start conversations about the issues. Find ways to get involved.
Here are some great organizations (Although, as for myself, I don't plan to get a tattoo).