Take Care Of Yourself: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

“How are you?”

It’s a simple question that is so often asked and answered in passing, sometimes without much thought. So, I’ll ask again. Really, how are you? When asked with empathy and intention, this question can make an important difference in someone’s life. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, bringing attention to the widespread issue of mental illness that affects millions of people across America.

The month focuses on bringing tools, resources, and education to the general public. The creation of Mental Health Awareness month was in 1949, “to provide Americans with tools and resources as part of their outreach program to improve mental health,” according to Mental Health America.

Now is a good time to pause and reflect. Nearly one in five Americans live with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Even if you don’t experience a diagnosed mental illness, you will still likely face challenges that impact your mental health and wellbeing. It is simply okay to not be okay, you can still accomplish so much, but also still struggle with mental health issues.

You can run a successful business, be a great employee, be a super mom and partner, whatever it is that you want to accomplish, and you can still have a mental health issue. Just because you struggle with mental health in a negative way doesn’t mean you can’t be successful or lead a great life because no one is defined by their mental illnesses or personal troubles. Mental Health Awareness Month is important for many to recognize and accept their achievements that may have been harder for them. Note that this month let’s people see their personal worth and help others understand the meaning of mental illness.

Here’s the thing, it’s okay to ask for help, we are lucky to have access to it. But this doesn’t mean you are weak if you take meds or go to therapy. Taking medication or going to therapy is not a weak thing, it is something that makes you stronger. That is why this month focuses on finding resources and tools to help people who struggle, but there are plenty of ways you can help too.

Well how can you help? Check in on yourself and others. Take care of yourself and others. Share your story in a way that is comfortable for you. When we speak about it, we give others the courage to share their stories and normalize conversations about mental health, while also giving others and yourself closure to what may be on your mind, and give a sense of peace.

And remember, we are not defined by our mental health statuses and it’s okay to not feel okay, so many people are right there with you.