May: The Month of Mental Health Awareness

Mental-Health-Awareness-Month-May

It’s May, and we’re here to tell you again—mental health is not a 1-in-5 issue. It’s a 5-in-5 issue. Even though we may not all become diagnosed with a mental illness at some point during our lives, we all have mental health. Therefore, we should all take the time to care for our mental health, just as we do our physical health. Here’s how you can celebrate all things mental health this month.

Some of you may not be aware, but the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is celebrating Mental Health Week this May 3rd to 9th. The purpose? Encourage the public to learn and talk about issues relating to mental health. We must remember, ‘good mental health’ does not mean feeling happy and amazing all the time.

With ongoing worries about COVID-19, we continue to live in a time of extreme anxiety and isolation. A study conducted by the CMHA and University of British Columbia found that 40% of Canadians have reported a decline in their mental health since the pandemic started. When comparing statistics, this number is even on the lower end of others reported within the country. Instead of sweeping these struggles under the rug, we have to start taking action by supporting our whole wellbeing.

Get Real About How You Feel

This #MentalHealthWeek the CMHA encourages everyone to “name, express, and deal with our emotions—even the uncomfortable ones.” The emotion regulation technique, called affect labelling, is scientifically proven to attenuate emotional experiences. By normalizing all emotions, the good, the bad, and everything in between, we not only can better manage our emotions, but we can also do our part in creating a society where mental health becomes more destigmatized. Let’s do it all together: name it, don’t numb it. #GetReal about you feel.

“It has been likened to hitting the brakes when driving a car. When you put feelings into words, you are putting the brakes on your emotional responses.” – CMHA

Here’s what you can do to support #MentalHealthWeek:

  • Download these graphics and share #GetReal on social media to spread the word.
  • Browse through these informative articles to help improve your affect labelling.
  • Donate to support CMHA mental health programs, advocacy, and resources.

To our friends down south…Don’t think we forgot about you! The whole month of May is also Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Initially spearheaded by Mental Health America (MHA) in 1949, the legacy of #MHAM lives on today. For 2021, Mental Health America continues with their theme of Tools 2 Thrive to provide “practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation.” Download MHA’s toolkit to learn different strategies that will optimize your mental health (e.g., adapt to stress, deal with anger, get out of thinking traps, process significant changes, self-care, radical acceptance).

Other organizations in the United States are also spreading the word about mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is continuing to amplify their message of “You Are Not Alone” for #MHAM. As you can guess, the purpose is to spread awareness, creating a shared vision of a nation where everyone’s mental health matters. After all, 5-in-5 are affected, and 5-in-5 must receive the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives. No one should feel alone.

Here’s how you can get involved with #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth through NAMI:

Together let’s shed light on mental health by being honest about how we feel, learning different tools to increase resiliency, and supporting others to ensure no one feels alone. After all, it’s not 1-in-5 people that are affected by mental health. All 5-in-5 have mental health. Let’s start supporting it and take action.