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Mental Health Awareness Month

Cara Davis, C'22

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Welcome back Mounties! We are almost to the finish line. As we are nearing the end of the semester, I want to spend this week discussing Mental Health Awareness Month (which started on Saturday, May 1). This month, we will focus on mental health stigmas and public policy to better care and awareness. I have spent this semester talking about how to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. Now it’s time for you to share your stories and disrupt mental health stigmas.

If you are struggling with your mental health, that doesn't mean you are weak. As humans, we deal with many stressors and traumatic events, and we have learned to sweep the side effects under the rug. To better the public policies and awareness, we need to recognize signs of distress. There may be people around you suffering from mental illness, but they are silently suffering. This month, we are starting those hard conversations and bringing them into public view.

You are not alone. The hope for mental health efforts is to create a world where no one feels alone in their mental health battles. Mental health can be affected in many different areas, and no struggle is greater than the other. All mental health struggles are important whether it be eating disorders, depression, thoughts of suicide, sleep disorders, or anxiety. Everyone's voice is heard and no one stands alone. The point of the month is to talk about our stories and help continue the efforts of improving resources and normalizing these types of conversations. Every one of you can be part of the change. Help to disrupt stigmas and share your support for those around you. You have power in your voice and support.

There are many ways for you to get involved in a manner that you are comfortable with. You can share your story through social media or even through the National Alliance of Mental Illness. You can get involved in campaigns that are pushing for a change in public policies. Help your local and federal governments improve resources and protection for those suffering from mental illness. You can also help on a smaller scale, by advocating through your family and friends, work-life, and education. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in ages 10-34. In many of these cases, people felt isolated and alone. You can provide support to your loved ones. It is easy to get swept up in your own life, so remember to pay attention to those around you that are reaching out for help. If you or anyone around you are having these thoughts reach out to counseling services or a hotline ( 800-950-NAMI).

Help improve the future of mental health for ourselves and our family and friends. No matter how you continue the conversation and advocate for mental health resources, you are becoming part of the change. We have a lot of work to do, and I'm proud to know the change that we can create.

Catch you next week Mounties!

If you want to share your stories or hear different ways to help check out the National Alliance of Mental Illness or Mental Health America.

Cara Davis, C'22