May is National Mental Health Month
An estimated one in five adult Americans is living with a mental health problem, according to a recent survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Yet less than 50 percent of adults and children with diagnosable conditions receive treatment—not because it’s unavailable, but due instead to a lack of information about where to find mental health resources in local communities and due to the stigma that is often still associated with mental illness.
May is National Mental Health Month, dedicated to promoting the awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental illness. It’s the perfect time to learn more about mental health, reach out and help others who may be suffering, and find resources for treatment in your community.
If you feel that you or someone you know might benefit from a mental health assessment, both Mental Health America and the National Institute for Mental Health offer comprehensive resources for finding care. To find services in your area, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or visit its website to chat with someone who can help.
You an also take the time to educate yourself on mental illness, diagnosis, treatment, and support with these books available at The New York Public Library:
- The Family Guide to Mental Health Care, by Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D. (2013)
- What Is Mental Illness?, by Richard J. McNally (2011)
- Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Families, Friends, and Caregivers, by Rosalynn Carter (1998)
- Breaking Free from Depression: Pathways to Wellness, by Jess H. Wright, M.D., Ph.D. (2012)
We can all do our part for prevention as well by focusing on general mental health maintenance this month. Take time to relax, de-stress, and get to know yourself whether through meditation, exercise, art, hobbies, or reaching out to others. If you want more suggestions for promoting your own wellbeing and mental health, check out any of the following resources:
- This Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves… and Happiness, DVD by PBS (2010)
- Meditation for Your Life: Creating a Plan That Suits Your Style, by Robert Butera (2012)
- The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, by Katie Couric (2011) e-book
- For kids: What Do You Do with the Mad That You Feel?, a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood DVD (2005)
Use this year’s National Mental Health Month as inspiration to make wellness a priority in your own life. With the resources of your community and the Library at your fingertips, you can help transform the stigma of mental illness into positive efforts towards prevention and recovery. Take care of yourself and each other—not just this month, but every month.