May Mental Health Month

Posted by Sheryl Williams on 5/5/2020

Do you know when is mental health month? In the United States, the month of May is a nationally recognized time to raise awareness of mental health conditions in our nation. So then, what is mental health month exactly? When most people think of health, they think of diet, exercise, disease, and other physical signs of a healthy body. However, many still fail to recognize the importance of mental health when it comes to our overall well-being. 

National Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949, by the National Association for Mental Health (currently known as Mental Health America). What began as only a week of observance to shed light on the prevalence of mental illness, would eventually expand into a nationally recognized month of education and advocacy. During the month of May, various mental health organizations seek to accomplish these goals through screenings, community events, workshops, fundraisers, counseling, social media campaigns, and so much more.

Mental Health is about our feelings, our thinking, our emotions and our moods. Looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

Mastering mental health through awareness, education and change comes through identifying  mental health triggers, learning how to deal with the triggers, and bringing change to the situation that caused the trigger.  We all have mental health and we’d all like to stay in the healthy zone. Sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad days. Our mental health triggers are external events which we know will bring us stress, sadness, anxiety, panic, negative self-talk, or other emotional, mental, and sometimes physical symptoms. Triggers are situations that are difficult for us to cope with. 

As you become more mindful of what your child's triggers are, notice how they affect them, talk about them and brainstorm how to cope with them or change them. Talk about coping strategies. Here are some examples:

  • writing or drawing pictures in a journal or notebook
  • exercise and play
  • walk and talk with a friend or family member
  • watch funny videos online
  • take a bath or quick shower
  • sit outside and listen to nature sounds
  • play with a pet or animal
  • Play an instrument or listen to music
  • play games
  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, parents are encouraged to:

    • Seek help if their child is engaging in unsafe behavior or talks about wanting to hurt themselves or someone else.
    • Talk with a child's teachers, pediatrician and other people in the child's life who might notice a change in their behaviors or attitude.
    • Ask for a referral to a mental health professional if your child is showing any signs of possibly having mental health needs.
    • Identify what treatments are suitable for your child ie. therapy, family counseling, medicine, etc.