May is mental health month and San Antonio residents should do what they can to spread awareness. Although there is not as much stigma surrounding mental illness these days, it still exists. Many people do not seek help for depression, bipolar disorder or other conditions because they are afraid what other people will say or think. If you are looking for a worthy cause, mental health should be on the top of your list.
There are many ways to spread awareness during the month of May, which is mental health month:
Spread awareness by starting a support group.
Each one of us has something that has affected us. Suffering from depression, dealing with a family member who has a psychiatric illness or even dealing with a coworker with an addiction. Use what has affected you and start a support group. Starting a support group does not have to be difficult or time consuming. All you need is one other person who is dealing with what you have dealt with and a commitment to meet to offer support and encouragement. With the Internet, you can even have support groups online through a forum, blog or simply have it via email.
Use your faith to reach out to Christians with mental health issues.
If you are Christian, you can use the Bible and your knowledge of God to help others with mental health issues. Christian mental health can be a touchy subject as some believers mistakenly think that mental illness “does not exist.” When a Christian goes through depression or has hallucinations, they avoid seeking help because of their fear that they are being “punished” by God, attacked by Satan or fear of what their church may think. You can use your Christian faith to bring awareness of mental health issues to other Bible believers.
Distribute mental health posters.
To raise awareness about psychiatric conditions, you can distribute mental health posters. You can either order them from a business such as OfficeMax or Staples or make them yourself. You can get your kids involved in this project. All you need is poster board and markers. Before you hang up posters, ask permission. If you want to hang them at your place of work, talk to the Human Resources department first. The same advice goes to hanging them in businesses. If you are thinking about putting mental health posters on telephone poles or city-owned fences, ask first. Some cities have laws again putting anything up on city property without advance, written permission.
Talk to your children about mental illness.
While schools are doing an excellent job about education students on depression, your kids still need to hear it from you. Talk to them about your experiences and why it is important to talk to somebody if they have persistent feelings of sadness or uncontrollable anger.
Be a guest speaker at a support group meeting.
Even if you have never had a mental illness, you can still ask support groups if you can speak at a meeting during mental health month. For example, if you are a business manager, give tips about interviewing for a job when you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. If you have good coping skills, share your ideas to help those who are having a difficult time dealing with stress.
There are many things you can do to spread awareness during May for mental health month. Even if you know nothing about mental illness, you can still do something to spread the word and reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric conditions.