May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So just a little back story – it began in 1949 and was started by NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness) but it was known as a different name at that time. Today NAMI still is one of the leading resources for mental health information for anyone experiencing mental health issues and their families. Their website is NAMI.org and I highly recommend it as it is a valuable resource.
Even though NAMI began promoting awareness of mental health in 1949 it is amazing how much stigma remains about mental health. Also The National Council for Behavioral Health estimates that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some type of mental health issue. With numbers that high, it stands to reason that at least one person you know is one of these Americans. Unfortunately, due to the stigma many still suffer with depression or other mood issues in silence or put on a fake front, not letting anyone know how they feel. It is okay to take medication for diabetes or hypertension, but often people hide that they are taking medications for depression or even ADHD.
I hope that someday this stigma is gone, but we still have a long ways to go. I encourage everyone to not be afraid to talk about how you are feeling. Maybe the more we talk the more people will understand.
Windom Area Health offers Psychiatric and Mental Health services for all ages, providing local care to our community. To schedule an in-person or telehealth visit, call 507-831-0670 today and let us help you care for your mental health this Mental Health Awareness Month.
By Darla Miles, PMHNP-BC