Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other advocates from around the country have celebrated Mental Health Month every May since 1949. During this month, they reach millions of people with messages and materials of health and hope. This tradition has been embraced universally, by NAMI and other mental health organizations around the world.
This May, Mental Health America chose the theme “B4Stage4.” Here’s why. Mental health concerns are no different from any other physical health concerns. They should be thought about and treated the same way – long before they reach Stage 4.
Mental Health America dedicates itself to mental health. They work for prevention for all; for early identification and intervention for those at risk; for integrated health, behavioral health, and other services for those who need them; and for recovery as a goal.
For too long, mental health issues have not been framed in a way that offers recovery as a goal. Instead, too many people have been trapped in Stage 4 thinking about them. They wait until after a crisis – until someone is a “danger to themselves or others” – before they act. This is wrong. We don’t do this for cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. We shouldn't do this for mental health concerns, either.
So this May, Mental Health America is asking everyone to help turn the attention of our nation upstream – before mental health concerns become mental health crises.
That’s really what acting before Stage 4 is all about. In their May is Mental Health Month toolkit, they’re offering a range of materials, strategies, and resources to bring healthy, B4Stage4 thinking to life. It’s all part of keeping the focus of the month on mental health – a time when we dedicate ourselves to protecting our health, to preserving our mental health, and to preventing bad and sometimes tragic outcomes from ever happening again.
NAMI also offers suggestions of what you can do this month:
- Take the stigma free pledge here.
- Know the numbers and issues. View NAMI’s Mental Health By the Numbers infographic to know the prevalence and impact of mental health conditions in the U.S. Mental health policy is complex, but NAMI offers easy-to-understand explanations of the issues and what NAMI is doing to help fix the system.
- Read personal stories or share your story. The personal experiences people have with mental health let you know what those numbers really mean. Read, watch and write these stories of hope, frustration and perseverance on NAMI Wisconsin's Story Forum, or You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.
- Spread the word on social media. NAMI has created graphics and pre-made posts that you can use on any of your social profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Join an online discussion. Share knowledge, ask questions and interact with people who have similar experiences in one of NAMI's discussion groups.
- Go green! Green is the color used to show your support for mental wellness. Grab a green ribbon for your backpack, wear green to work or turn your social media pages green and use the hashtag #mentalhealthmonth.
Read more about Mental Health Month at nami.org/mhm