Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, Sound Mind joins the national movement to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy. 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month message is “You Are Not Alone.” We at Sound Mind want to encourage everyone to connect in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.
Mental Health Awareness Month began in 1949. It was commemorated by the Mental Health America organization, which was then known as the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and later as the National Mental Health Association. The association was founded by Clifford Whittingham Beers. Beers, who was born in 1876 in Connecticut, was one of five children in his family who suffered from mental illness and psychological distress. They all went on to spend time at mental institutions. It was during Beers' hospital admittance when he discovered the mental health field had a notorious reputation for malpractice, maltreatment, and immense bias. Since 1949, a theme is selected each year to highlight throughout May. Recent years have seen themes like ‘Do More for 1 in 4’ (2011), ‘B4Stage4’ (2015), and ‘Nature’ (2020). During the month, various events are held that are covered by media and supported by public figures. Mental Health America also diligently releases a mental health toolkit for outreach activities.
While Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated in the U.S., a more universal day is also celebrated by the WHO (World Health Organization) on October 10, and it is known as World Mental Health Day.
1. Self-care: Use the practice of protecting and improving your physical and mental health whenever possible.
2. Reach out: check in on your friends, family and neighbors to see if they need help that you can provide.
3. Talk about it: keeping mental health, mental illness, and therapy behind the wall of secrecy perpetuates the myths and misunderstandings that persist to this day. Talk about mental health and let’s normalize it!
Juneteenth at McAdams Park
Virtual PRIDE celebrations