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May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted: 5/26/2010 | Personal Development Comments
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May is Mental Health Awareness month. Many people suffer from a diagnosable mental illness and in the eyes of some; their suffering is in their “heads.” Mental Illness’ is often overlooked and stigmatized. There is a significant discussion going on to see the importance of mental illness having parity with physical illness. Both are significant as well as interdependent.

While many approach mental health through the lens of illness --someone is either mentally ill or they're not—I would like to include a broader perspective.  I would like all of us to use this as an opportunity to see that there are degrees of physical health and mental health. The diagnostic point-of-view in both has much value, and a lot of good is achieved through it, but mental health can also be viewed as a continuum of human development. Meaning, even though we might not be “mentally ill,” we all have things to learn. Growing and changing can be an essential part of the human journey that enriches our lives. Besides the fact, we all have times when we find it a little harder to process, digest and move past what life throws at us. We all have moments when we could use some help. We are all presented with situations that can facilitate us in reach more of our potentials.

Established by Congress in 1949, Mental Health Month shines a spotlight on the importance of mental health issues to one's overall health and well-being.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 26% of America's adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder every year, while a 2009 American Psychological Association poll found that 75% of adults experience a moderate to high level of stress in their lives.     

This year, Mental Health America (a non-profit organization "dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives") has chosen Live Your Life Well as their theme for Mental Health Month. They've created a public education campaign which focuses on helping people cope with the many stresses that arise in everyday life, and 10 practical and easy to apply tools that will help people become more resilient, and experience a greater sense of well-being. The tools include relaxation techniques, journaling exercises, and tips on how to create better sleep and eating habits.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who has been a tireless Mental Health Care advocate for over 35 years, is spending this month promoting her new book, "Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis." In it she describes her own journey of mental health awareness, which began during her husband's campaign for Governor of Georgia in 1966, when she saw firsthand the toll that mental illness can take on those affected, and their families. She later served as the honorary chair of the President's Commission for Mental Health during Jimmy Carter's presidency, and created The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force and the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy at the Carter Center, in Atlanta, Georgia.

On Tuesday, May 18th, the American Psychological Association hosted a Mental Health Month blog party. According to their website it was a chance for bloggers to come together "to educate the public about mental health, decrease stigma about mental illness, and discuss strategies for making lasting lifestyle and behavior changes that promote overall health and wellness." You'll find many interesting and helpful posts from the blog party at the Mental Health Blog Day Round-Up.






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