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How to #BeTheDifference with MHFA this Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and especially after the events of the past 12-plus months, it’s crucial that we equip ourselves with strategies and tools to take care of our mental health. Less than half (44%) of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2019, so this month, we’ll shed light on how important our mental health is, and how you can help yourself and others.

Research shows that education and being open about our mental health helps reduce stigma, and talking about our challenges can encourage others to be more open as well. Sharing our stories helps! In fact, one study looking at the effectiveness of anti-stigma marketing found that adults who were exposed to the campaign were more likely to seek treatment than those who were not. That’s why Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is launching Voices of Mental Health First Aid this month, highlighting how members of the MHFA community are using the knowledge and skills they learned from MHFA to #BeTheDifference in their communities.

The MHFA curriculum teaches First Aiders how to understand, identify, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health challenges. It also teaches how to take care of your own mental health with self-care strategies. Check out some of our latest blog posts for mental health tips and resources from the MHFA curriculum:

  1. ALGEE: How MHFA Helps You Respond in Crisis and Non-crisis Situations
  2. Supporting the Black Community as a Mental Health First Aider
  3. How to Ask Your Boss for a Mental Health Day
  4. The Sunday Blues: A Guide to Help You Understand and Overcome Them

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the country. Learn how you can help yourself and those around you with these tips and resources:

  1. Self-care: Take Care of Your Mental Health During COVID-19
  2. How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression During COVID-19
  3. How to Support a Loved One Going Through a Tough Time During COVID-19
  4. Tips to Help Teens Cope During COVID-19

You can also download and share these graphics with tips from the MHFA curriculum:

Having the right information and tools on hand ensure that if you or someone you know is ever facing a mental health or substance use challenge, you can take care of yourself, offer appropriate support, and get additional help if needed. This Mental Health Awareness Month, we can all #BeTheDifference for ourselves and each other by checking in with loved ones and peers, having resources ready and using self-care strategies to take care of our own mental wellbeing.

We will continue to share stories from the MHFA community, mental health tips, and resources to help you throughout the month. Keep an eye on our website and follow us on social media!

  1. Mental Health First Aid USA | Facebook
  2. Mental Health First Aid (@MHFirstAidUSA) | Twitter
  3. Mental Health First Aid (@MHFirstAidUSA) | Instagram

 

Resources:

Collins, R. L., Wong, E. C., Breslau, J., Burnam, M. A., Cefalu, M., & Roth, E. (2019). Social marketing of mental health treatment: California’s mental illness stigma reduction campaign. American Journal of Public Health109(S3), S228–S235. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2019.305129

Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016, August 3). Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: The Evidence for Stigma Change. National Academies Press https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK384914/

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (March 2021). Mental Health by the Numbers. https://www.nami.org/mhstats