May is Mental Health Awareness Month which is a topic near and dear to my heart. With the corresponding news stories, social media posts and other news coverage it occurs to me – who cares?
At its most basic, awareness literally means “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.”
So why is awareness important?
I look at it this way: If we are to solve, or try to solve, any problem then we must be first be aware that there is a problem.
Once we are aware that there is a problem then we can acknowledge it which gives us the collective opportunity to accept it or deny it.
Unfortunately, many with mental health disorders ranging from anxiety to depression to bipolar and more do not seek help because they are ashamed or believe that “it’s all in their head.”
The month of May presents a unique opportunity for us to talk openly about a seemingly taboo topic. In my experience as a male in our society the admission of mental health challenges is often met with “don’t be a pussy” and “just relax.” So let’s use this month to talk about it openly, ask questions, and try to gain a bit more understanding of mental health disorders.
I have own story of mental health challenges. One of the things that has helped me is seeing how well publicized mental health disorders have been covered this month including. Here are just a few I have seen this this month that may help you too:
- NBA star Kevin Love was on NBC Today talking about his challenges with panic disorders
- Carson Daly discussed his acceptance of his anxiety disorder
- The greatest Olympic athlete of all time, Michael Phelps, shared his battle with depression
When high-profile people come forward it helps us all relate and know that it’s not just us. That there is hope. After all:
From awareness comes acknowledgement and from acknowledgement comes acceptance.
If you or someone you know is facing mental health challenges please seek professional help. From my own journey with anxiety and depression I am here to tell you that it’s not just “in your head.”
Please show your support by hanging the Mental Health Awareness Ribbon high!