What is Mental Health Awareness Month?

All great successes start with a plan, and your mental health is no different.
National Mental Health Awareness Month
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

May is Mental Health Awareness Month -- a time for all of us to create a space for ourselves and those around us to take a much-needed breather and raise awareness of the physical and emotional impacts mental health can have on the lives of children, families, friendships, and our communities at large.

Observed this year beginning on Saturday, May 1, through Monday, May 31 -- Mental Health Awareness Month aims to shine a light on the struggles millions of Americans cope with each year, whether that be watching a loved one grapple with addiction, or depression or our own abilities to handle the stresses of a pandemic, joblessness, and countless other triggers.

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Always remember: You are not alone in your fight.

"Millions of adults and children across America experience mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental health condition. Those living with mental health conditions are our family, friends, classmates, neighbors, and coworkers," a statement from The White House reads. "Even before COVID-19, the prevalence of mental health conditions in our Nation was on the rise. In 2019, nearly 52 million adults experienced some form of mental illness."

All great successes start with a plan, and your mental health is no different. Start by finding your “normal” and try to ascertain whether you are coping well with specific or general stressors. Having someone to talk out your problems with and gain insight into the ways they, or others they have leaned on previously, have handled similar situations can be an absolute life-saver.

“Even if we don’t have symptoms that rise to the level of getting professional assistance. Now, coming out of the pandemic almost everybody is having some unusual symptoms of depression or anxiety or feeling overwhelmed,” West Virginia counselor Cheri Timko says. “Having a good support system so that you have people to talk to or who can help you if you feel you’re not functioning at your best," is just as important as going to the doctor when you're feeling ill, she asserts. "It’d be lovely if everyone saw a mental health check-up as equal to a physical health check-up.”

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

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