May 2019: Mental Health Awareness

While any month is a good one to talk about mental health, May in particular is dedicated to raising awareness around mental illnesses and the stigma that surrounds them. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): 1 in 5 adults (around 46 million people) in the U.S. live with a mental health condition.

When someone breaks their leg, you can see the cast and notice how it is more difficult for them to get around, or say, walk up stairs. With mental health conditions, the difficulties and barriers are just as real, but the struggles are often less visible, or completely invisible. This, combined with the stigma around mental illness, can make it incredibly difficult to seek help and get needed support.

This month, try to be mindful of the barriers that individuals with mental health disorders face and the ways in which you can work to help erase the stigma. Awareness is the first step in the process of change.

Articles

The Mindful Way Through Depression

“What we’re trying to get people to do is to anchor themselves in their experience so that when a negative emotion comes up in the mind, it can wash over them; it doesn’t totally destabilize,” Segal says. “Instead, they can find a different place for standing and working with these feelings, and as a result have much more of an option for selecting a response and influencing what happens next.”

Using Mindfulness for Mental Health

Can mindfulness help with mental health conditions, the evidence says yes, but it shouldn’t be used as a cure-all.

“Is mindfulness better than medication or other therapies? No, probably not… it may be that providing people with a number of options for treating mental-health conditions, managing chronic illness, or reducing stress is actually the best medicine.”

Practices

Breathing exercises for anxiety and stress management

A list of handy, simple breathing exercises to help manage physiological reactions to stressful situations.

Breathing visualization exercise 

A videos that helps slow and regulate breathing with helpful visual of a shape expanding and contracting.