11 May 5 Ways to Celebrate Behavioral Health Awareness Month
May has been designated Behavioral Health Awareness Month in the U.S. since 1949. If you or a loved one has ever struggled to keep their behavioral health in balance, you might want to learn more about how to celebrate or show your support during this time. Observing Behavioral Health Awareness month helps to reduce stigma surrounding psychological illnesses. It also helps to bring the community together, provide education and promote policies that help people with mental disorders.
Start a Conversation
It can feel strange or awkward to reach out to someone who may need your assistance. But friends and family members may not feel comfortable asking for help. Therefore, one way to start a conversation is to simply ask your loved ones how they are doing.
You don’t have to make the conversation serious right away. Some ways to initiate a discussion like this include asking questions such as:
• How are you?
• Are you ok?
• Do you need to talk?
• What can I do to be there for you?
• Is there anything that you need from me?
• I want to know how you’re feeling because I care about you.
If someone you love has a behavioral health disorder, you can let them know that you’re there for them. Spark a conversation by saying things like:
• What is your diagnosis?
• How do you feel about your diagnosis?
• What resources are helping you right now?
• What signs that you’re struggling can I be aware of?
• Can I support you in seeking treatment?
• How is your treatment going?
• Are there any aspects of your behavioral health that you don’t want to discuss with me?
May is an excellent month to reach out to people who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Check in on your loved ones and find out if they need any support. Calling a friend who lives across the country or sending a text message to a few people from whom you haven’t heard in a while is an easy way to brighten someone’s day.
Remember that you don’t have to be their therapist. You don’t have to fix them. You don’t have to offer advice. Just letting someone talk and reminding them that you’re there for them may be all that your loved one needs.
Prioritize Your Behavioral Health
Behavioral Health Awareness Month is an ideal time to reflect on your own mental wellness. To evaluate your psychological health, consider asking yourself some of the questions from the previous section of this article.
If you’re not doing ok, reach out for help. Finding the right therapist can take some time. Don’t wait to get on the road to mental wellness. Seek support as soon as possible.
You can also make sure that your lifestyle supports your behavioral health. Some ways to enhance your physical and psychological wellness include:
• Getting enough sleep every night
• Eating nutrient-rich foods
• Cutting down on processed foods, sugars and alcohol
• Exercising regularly
• Practicing mindfulness
• Taking time for yourself
• Doing activities that you enjoy
This is also a good time to look at your boundaries. Do you often agree to things when you want to say no? Do you surround yourself with toxic people? Take a moment to prioritize your desires and values, and hold those strong in your interpersonal relationships and throughout your life.
If you feel overwhelmed, consider taking a break. Perhaps you need a three-day vacation from the kids. Maybe you need to take a few behavioral health days off of work. Make time to rest and rejuvenate so that you don’t slip into a rut.
Donate or Volunteer
There are thousands of organizations that help promote behavioral health. Consider donating to one during this month. If your birthday falls in May, you could ask people to donate to a non-profit that supports mental wellness in lieu of giving you gifts.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness holds walks and fundraising events around the country. The organization also hosts a convention that gathers behavioral health advocates for sharing, learning and networking.
You can also find out whether local organizations could benefit from you donating your resources or time. Domestic violence shelters often need household items. Some clinics need volunteers to answer crisis hotlines.
Sharing information about mental wellness is a fantastic way to spread awareness. You could hand out fliers at fundraisers or schools. Find out if local organizations need help spreading the word about what they do.
Many people raise awareness about behavioral health issues using social media. A quick social media post is all it takes. You could share phone numbers, such as this one for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The National Council for Behavioral Health has some graphics and examples of social media messaging that you can quickly and easily share on your timeline.
If you don’t want to share information, you can be an audience for others who want to express themselves. Pick up a book about psychological disorders. Attend a webinar about addiction or mental wellness. Educating yourself may help you start up a conversation with someone who really needs it.
Let Someone Know That They’re Not Alone
Many people with behavioral health disorders feel isolated. They may think that no one understands them. They may have a diagnosis but be frustrated because their loved ones don’t really know what they’re going through.
If you’ve experienced behavioral health issues, consider sharing them in a safe environment. Even sharing a post on social media that expresses something that you’re struggling with could make someone else feel supported.
Some other ways to share aspects of your journey include:
• Attending a behavioral health support group
• Submitting your story to the National Alliance on Mental Illness
• Telling your colleagues or supervisor at work about your struggles and the support that you and others might need
Sharing your story shows others that it’s possible to manage a behavioral health condition. It also encourages others to talk openly about their battles. The more awareness we can raise during this month, the more we can influence our society to make behavioral health a priority.
Approximately 20 percent of American adults will experience some type of psychological illness during their lifetime. Even if you’re not in the 20 percent, you may struggle with periods of stress or overwhelm that can challenge your psychological wellness.
At New Method Wellness, we aim to help people feel whole again. Our addiction and behavioral health treatment approaches target the mind, body, and spirit. We hope that if you or a loved one needs help with a psychological illness, you contact us for support.