Mental Health Awareness Month: How You Can Get Involved

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And, if we’ve learned anything from the past few years, it’s that burnout is real, it’s hard, and recovering from it is much easier said than done. And, while sometimes it feels like we’re alone in the struggle, it’s important to remember that we’re all far more alike than we think—despite what the filtered photos on your Instagram feed may tell you. 

To kickstart the month, we’re continuing the conversation—including how to raise awareness, how to support others, how to ask for help, and ways to ensure your mental health never takes a back seat. Unfortunately, tackling the subject is not a one-size-fits-all approach. But with the proper resources and support, we can all work together to destigmatize, raise awareness and advocate for positive mental health everywhere.

While this month may be quote-unquote dedicated to raising awareness, prioritizing your own mental health—as well as advocating for others—is something that requires attention, commitment, and a little TLC every month of the year. In light of that, we’ve rounded up a list of resources so that you and your loved ones can stay involved all year round.

Get Involved

The first step in raising awareness is beginning wherever you are—whether that’s in your home, your local community or online. How, you ask? Start by engaging in conversation. This can look something like breaking down stigmas surrounding mental health, sharing your own mental health journey with others, or pledging your support for those struggling with their own mental illnesses. Then, branch out to your community—be it a physical or virtual one. This can look something like participating in community events or joining in fundraising efforts.

If you’re unsure where to begin, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America are the perfect resources to check out. Use them as a resource to locate a local awareness walk, educate yourself on mental health statistics, learn how to become a volunteer or referral specialist, start a fundraiser of your own, and so much more to provide help and support for those that need it. No effort is too small.

Ask For Help

Believe us when we say, it’s OK not to be OK. While mental illness and the daily struggles that tag along with it are anything but easy, it’s comforting to know that there are resources available to make the load a little lighter—doctors, friends, and loved ones included. 

Whether you’re in a funk, feeling a burnout stirring, in the midst of a mental health crisis, or feeling absolutely helpless, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There is always support readily available, and it’s closer than you may think. 

As for where to begin? Treat yourself the same way you would a loved one (a best friend, a younger sibling, etc.). Find someone you can confide in, the same way you’d want your loved one to seek help if they needed it. For some, that “someone” may be someone familiar, like an older sibling or a parent. For others, it may be a doctor, a mental health professional, or a complete stranger on the opposite end of a warmline/hotline. 

Free and confidential, warmlines and hotlines are phone numbers you can call to have a conversation with a trained professional—someone who can provide much-needed support in hard times—whether you’re actively facing a crisis or just need to talk. 

Click here to find numbers for suicide prevention lines, online therapy resources, and other support numbers for any and all mental health needs.

Help a Friend

You don’t have to be a professional to offer support—you just need to make an effort. For many people dealing with mental health illnesses (which makes up millions just in the United States alone), feelings of loneliness and isolation are what prompt most crises. 

We know, the task of helping someone may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to. The first step can be as simple as educating yourself on signs of mental illness, so you can be best prepared to notice warnings among friends and family. NAMI lays out all signs and symptoms here

Next, reach out. If you have hours on end to scroll through TikTok, you definitely have a few minutes to make a phone call! Have a friend who’s been quiet recently? Ask them to meet for coffee. Know someone who’s been canceling plans frequently? Call and ask how they’ve been feeling. Notice a change in someone’s mood? Let them know you care about them. More often than not, the simple act of making that friend (or loved one, coworker, sibling, etc.) know you’re thinking of them will make all the difference. 

Above all else, don’t be scared to show people you care. Spoiler alert: no one is going to think you’re weird for it! Compliment a stranger. Send a supportive text. Visit an old friend. Check in on someone you don’t know very well. Life is too short to put off letting people know you care.

Put Yourself First

Don’t forget about yourself. In fact, the best thing you could do to raise awareness for mental health is to be an advocate for your own. Like we said, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, so chances are your mental health journey is going to look different from someone else’s. There are a few things, though, that tend to work universally: listening to your body and not being afraid to get help—even before you think you need it. 

For starters, try to prioritize a good night’s sleep and a wholesome diet. Good food, good mood—right?! Studies also prove that exercise and meditative practices, like yoga, increase endorphin production and boost mood almost immediately. So, if you’re in a funk and in need of a reset, try out a balanced diet, early bedtime and some movement here and there. Our favorites? Try out The Sculpt Society and MelissaWoodHealth for quick, affordable, equipment-free movement that can be done from the comfort of your home. 

Other options include downloading apps and playing games designed to work your mind in positive ways, including emotional fitness games and learned skills on how to overcome unwanted thoughts. Click here for a list of do-it-yourself activities and tools to improve your well-being. 

Let’s be real—sometimes it’s just impossible to do it all on your own… and that’s O-K. If that’s the case, there are plenty of people who can and want to help. First, you can join a support group based on the treatment or support you desire. Next, schedule a meeting with a therapist, either in person or online. You can also schedule your own mental health test. Online screening is one of the simplest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, and can quickly point you toward proper treatment and recovery. 

Remember, consistency is key—and that includes being kind to yourself too. Be sure to share with a friend and keep the conversation going. We all could use it!