Mental Health Awareness Month – May 2021
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme is “You Are Not Alone.” BRIDGES shares the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives in communities where no one feels alone in their struggle. We are experiencing a shift in public perception of mental health. Resources are available and people are encouraged to seek support.
Anyone can have a mental illness just as they can have a physical illness. No one asks for either one. We need to show compassion for people living with mental illness just as we would for people with cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
May is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. Stigma is a barrier to accessing mental healthcare. Not only does mental illness cause pain, distress, and loss, but it can trigger a social reaction — prejudice — which is as limiting as the condition itself. People with mental illness have said that stigma, how people judge them, is a barrier to a full life. Reducing stigma encourages people to seek the help they need for what we know are treatable conditions – and can result in significant improvements in individual and family lives.
Some ways to reduce stigma:
- Educate yourself and others.
- Be conscious of language.
- Get treatment.
- Don’t isolate yourself.
- Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame.
- Join a support group.
We have an extraordinary opportunity to reduce the stigma and improve the understanding of mental health. BRIDGES is a valuable community resource for anyone in need of assistance. In addition to providing information and referrals for treatment, BRIDGES provides online video support groups with Mental Health and Recovery Peer Specialists, Anxiety Workshops, Veterans Support Groups, Neuro-Queer support groups, and more. For information, call 845-624-1366 or visit our website www.bridgesrc.org and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bridgesrockland
During Mental Health Awareness month, remember to reach out to those who may be isolated so they do not feel alone. Your support could save a life.