As you probably know by now, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout the year, people in the recovery community spend a lot of time talking about our nation’s mental health system of care, peer support, and the role of people with lived experience in driving change. But how often does the average person think about mental health, or what it means, or what role it plays in their own lives and those of their loved ones?
Since May brings wider public attention to mental health that it doesn’t always get, this month presents a good opportunity to consider what people outside of the recovery movement need to know. Yes, May is about “awareness,” but what comes next? There appears to be a lot of general agreement about the need to address mental health, but where do we go from there? How does that awareness turn into action? Now that mental health is getting some attention, what message do we need to convey to the people that are looking for answers?
To help you think through these questions, we have gathered a few articles that take on some of the assumptions about mental health and offer some potential paths forward. We’ve also shared the President’s Mental Health Awareness proclamation, to offer some insight into the terms of the public conversation. Check it out, then ask yourself, if you were to write your own proclamation, what would it say?
We’ve also brought together a selection of upcoming webinars, surveys and funding opportunities, all of which you will see below.
Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2016
Please take a moment to read the President’s proclamation for Mental Health Awareness Month.
It’s Time To Restore A Sense Of Mission To Mental Health
In this post, the Executive Director of the Hogg Foundation calls for a broader understanding of mental health and wellness to match the depth, complexity and urgency of the problems we are currently facing as a society.
Here’s Why We Need Mental Health Action — Not Mental Health Awareness
This article makes the case that instead of simply promoting awareness, advocates should focus on the trauma and suffering that result from a broken mental health system, and the social realities confronted by people of color.
How to Improve Mental Health in America: Raise the Minimum Wage
Those that work and live in recovery are familiar with “social determinants” of mental health, like poverty, violence and trauma. This article takes the connection between mental health and social stability another step, by suggesting that a higher minimum wage, and the relief of financial stress and insecurity that would accompany it, could profoundly impact mental health across communities.
Mental Health Advocates Call on Senate for Better Care
Linda Rosenberg, MSW, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, and NFL player Brandon Marshall recently appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to advocate for a move beyond awareness, to meaningful federal action on mental health.
A Radical New Direction for Suicide Prevention and Care
In this Huffington Post piece, advocate Leah Harris makes the case for a complete overhaul in how suicide is treated based on the recently published Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws: Examining Current Approaches to Suicide in Policy and Law by Susan Stefan. Might the key be separating the concepts of mental illness and suicide?