DYK? During the pandemic, parents with children ages 5-12 reported their children showed elevated symptoms of depression (4%), anxiety (6%) and psychological stress (9%); and experienced overall worsened mental or emotional health (22%), according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Are you looking for simple ways to highlight the importance of mental health and self-care at your school, program, community or home during Mental Health Awareness Month? From behavior to the brain, mental health is complex. So what is mental health? According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health influences our feelings, thoughts and actions.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is vital at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
It is important to note there is a difference between mental health and mental illness. The CDC says we can “experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental and social well-being.”
The bottom line is you don’t have to be an expert to advocate for mental health or support someone with mental illness. However, it is critical to know the signs or how to get help if you or someone you know is struggling. It is also more important now than ever that we work together to address and reduce the stigma associated with needing and, ultimately, deciding to seek help. Start by helping to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being with these seven simple ways to highlight Mental Health Awareness Month.
- Become a Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign School or Community Champion #CMHMMaryland. The Campaign brings schools, programs, nonprofits, community organizations and other government agencies together annually during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 7-13) to raise public awareness of the importance of children’s mental health. These advocates work to reduce mental health stigma by connecting children and families with resources to prevent and support mental health conditions. Become a School or Community Champion.
- Showcase Your Work During National Prevention Week. Whether you are an educator, social worker, counselor, licensed clinician or other professional, you know advocacy and support for this critical work extends beyond May. Showcase your year-round programs and support services from May 7-13 for National Prevention Week. Register and download the toolkit.
- Host an Event for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. On Saturday, May 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will highlight the importance of caring for every child’s mental health while reinforcing the message that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. Plan your awareness day.
- Spread the Word #MHAM2023. Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website for resources, key messages and themes to share weekly throughout May on social media, in your monthly newsletter or via e-mail. On SAMHSA’s website, you will find a toolkit with downloadable resources, shareable social media graphics and other materials to help you spread awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our well-being, promote acceptance and support of anyone living with a mental illness. Learn how to use the Mental Health Awareness Toolkit.
- Be a Mental Health Advocate All Year Round. Advocacy means providing support. Start by ensuring you, your children, family, co-workers, neighbors and other loved ones know they are never alone. It’s as simple as exercising self-care, listening to or sharing an upbeat playlist, checking on people, showing compassion and using positive language to communicate with others. You can also volunteer for a local crisis hotline and post mental health resources on your website or social media. The most important thing you can do is seek, listen, encourage and accompany someone to get help. Learn how to become a mental health advocate.
Mental Health: Coping and Resilience
MFE Presents: The Coping and Resilience Collection! From stress management videos to coping skill activities and ways to identify emotions, check out the MFE Resilience Collection. Discover helpful resources to support positive mental health conversations between families and educators. Visit this collection often as we add new resources every month.