Mental Health Awareness
One of the most important aspects of a person’s overall health is that of their mental and emotional wellbeing. Unfortunately, mental health disorders are something that are not always able to be seen. Unlike a broken arm or an infection of some sort, it isn’t always obvious when a friend, family member or even we ourselves are dealing with mental and behavioral health concerns.
That’s why the movement to spread the word and increase awareness about not only the existence of these issues, but also how to recognize and treat them is so vitally important. To this point, there are certain dates on the calendar which are dedicated to raising the understanding of mental health, as well as learning more about the history and struggle associated with this often underestimated and misunderstood type of illness.
When Is Mental Health Awareness Month?
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. During this month, mental health advocates, medical and psychiatric professionals, people who suffer from various types of mental health disorders, as well as many others work to educate people in the areas of emotional and behavioral health awareness.
When Is Mental Health Awareness Week?
Mental Health Awareness Week is actually in October, specifically beginning on the 4th of the month and ending on the 10th. This is a great way to illustrate the fact that the mental health struggle for many people is an everyday reality, 365 days a year. This became the official week of mental health awareness in 1990 when Congress recognized it as part of a larger, overall effort to educate and raise awareness of these issues by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
When Is Mental Health Awareness Day?
Mental Health Awareness Day also takes place in May, on the 7th of the month. Although no one, day, week, or even an entire month could ever fully cover the many aspects of mental and emotional health and the struggles that those who deal with it face every day, it’s still a long cry from the primitive type of care and treatment these patients received not that long ago.
When Did Mental Health Awareness Begin?
Just as it is with many other specific types of societal or ideological changes, it is impossible to pinpoint the exact time that the medical or public opinions regarding mental health really began to shift. You can find the journals and writings of mental health advocates all the way back to the 1800s. Unfortunately, even for several decades after that, the stigma and lack of acceptance regarding mental illness would continue to be the norm. The majority of regular people and even medical experts believed that if you couldn’t see the issue, it was “all in your mind”.
In actuality, that was very true; the illness was in the person’s mind. But in those days, it was perceived to be manufactured or made up in their own head. If a man struggled with mental or emotional health issues, he just needed to “toughen up”. If a woman struggled with these things she was just “over-emotional” or “hysterical”. Regardless of the exact dates where breakthroughs in research or understanding may have taken place in relation to specific disorders or conditions, as psychiatry began to develop a better understanding of how the brain works, so too was society able to better understand the complexities of mental health.
What Is the Color for Mental Health Awareness?
The official color for mental health awareness is green. In the 1800s, people who considered insane were labeled so in green on their medical charts. Thus, green ribbons have become synonymous with mental health advocacy and awareness.
How to Raise Awareness for Mental Health?
There are countless ways that anyone can help in the fight to make the understanding and acceptance of mental health issues more universal. From simply having an open conversation with friends, family, or coworkers to volunteering for various groups or activities that work with or in the mental health community, there are so many different options for improving awareness. No matter what choice you ultimately make in what you do to help those who suffer from these horrible and often hidden conditions, the only thing that matters is consistency and dedication to the cause.
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- Patrizia Dantes