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MHAM 2024 | CSG

Beyond MHAW: Supporting Mental Health Awareness All Year Round

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a designated time to shed light on the importance of mental well-being and break down the stigma surrounding mental health challenges. We’ve enjoyed sharing some of our expert tips and advice on how to #StartAConversation and be a supporter, but what happens when the calendar flips to June? Does our support for mental health suddenly stop?

The reality is that mental health conditions don’t follow a calendar, they affect millions of people throughout the year. Let’s work together to extend the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) and create a more supportive environment for everyone! 

Here are 10 ways you can join in on this initiative to be an advocate, any time of year.

1. Keep the Conversation Going

Our focus this year has been all about starting the conversation and ways to approach someone you think could use your support. But don’t stop now! Mental health crises can happen anytime, and while there are signs and warnings to look for, they’re not exactly predictable. Normalize talking about mental health openly and honestly any time. Ask friends, family and colleagues how they’re doing, and share your own struggles without shame.

2. Educate Yourself

Don’t be afraid to challenge your own biases and continue to educate yourself about different mental health conditions. The more we understand, the better equipped we are to support others. Reliable sources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offer a wealth of information.

3. Practice Empathy and Patience

Mental health challenges can manifest differently in everyone.  Be patient and understanding when someone is struggling. Listen actively and offer emotional support without judgment.

4. Break the Stigma

The stigma surrounding mental health can prevent people from seeking help. Use inclusive language and avoid perpetuating stereotypes. Celebrate the bravery of those who share their stories and advocate for mental health awareness.

5. Advocate for Change

Support policies that promote mental health access and affordability. Contact your elected officials and urge them to prioritize mental health resources.

6. Prioritize Self-Care

Taking care of your own mental well-being is crucial to supporting others.  Practice self-care activities that reduce stress and promote healthy coping mechanisms. Encourage others to do the same.

7. Check in Regularly

Mental health isn’t static or linear. Regularly check in with people you care about, even if they seem okay. A simple “How are you doing?” or an impromptu coffee date or walk outside can make a world of difference.

8. Be a Resource

Let people know where they can find help if they need it. Share or help track down mental health hotline numbers, therapy resources, or support groups.

9. Celebrate Achievements

Big or small, acknowledge and celebrate the victories of those around you, especially if they are battling mental health challenges. Every step forward is a cause for celebration and it’s important to call out wins, no matter how big or small.

10. Create Safe Spaces

Foster an environment where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health struggles without fear of judgment. Be a safe space for open and honest communication.

Together We Can Make a Difference

Mental health is a lifelong journey, and supporting it shouldn’t be a seasonal event. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can create a ripple effect of compassion and understanding that extends far beyond the month of May. Remember, small actions can have a big impact on someone’s life. Let’s work together to build a more supportive and inclusive world for everyone.

Together, we can make mental health a priority, every single day.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental health crisis or challenge, contact us and we can help.