Though it takes place each May, Mental Health Awareness Month may be more important than ever before. Mental health is vital to overall health and long-term success. A 2019 national study found that 1 in six U.S. kids have at least one mental health disorder, although only about half of them receive treatment from a mental health professional. These numbers have only increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As providers, families, and communities work to find avenues for connection and healing, here are some resources that can help, provided by OhioMHAS:
To help promote May as Mental Health Month, Mental Health America (MHA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have developed toolkits to help communities generate awareness and understanding about mental health.
MHA’s Tools to Thrive kit provides tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency. The toolkit includes sample materials for communications and social media, as well as printable handouts on a variety of topics, including: adapting after trauma and stress; dealing with anger and frustration; getting out of thinking traps; processing big changes; taking time for yourself; and radical acceptance.
NAMI’s toolkit, which includes images and graphics, is designed around the message that “You Are Not Alone.” NAMI’s resources emphasize the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health, and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.
Additionally, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will host a virtual Mental Health Fair on May 3-7 in recognition of Mental Health Month. The Fair will feature educational programming and presentations by experts in the mental health field are scheduled to take place daily over the lunch hour to accommodate varying work schedules.