National Mental Health Month raises awareness about mental illness and related issues in the United States. In recent times, attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have reduced and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them.
Despite this shift in attitude, the idea of a mental health awareness campaign is not a recent one. In the late 1940’s, the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States.
During the 1960’s, this annual, weekly campaign was upgraded to a monthly one with May the designated month.
During this month, National Health America, the main organization which sponsors this event, run a number of activities which are often based on a theme. In 2010, the theme was ‘Live Your Life Well’. ‘Live Your Life Well’ encouraged people to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during times of personal challenge and stress. Many mental health problems can be avoided by taking positive lifestyle choices in how we act and think before they can manifest.
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness month, Other mental health campaigns & activities also run during this month. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is one such campaign. This event is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA). Other activities have included ‘Blogging for Mental Health’ and ‘Help For People Seeking Psychological Services’.