May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal of spreading awareness is to educate the public on mental illness to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. Mental illness likely touches the lives of everyone you know, as one in every five adults in the US has a mental health condition. To show your support for those facing challenging times or difficult diagnosis, you can try mental health fundraising or you can share your own mental health journey with others.
Statistics that ignite you to take action
- Mental Health America reports that 56% of adults in the U.S. with a mental illness don’t receive treatment.
- Of the adults who were left untreated, 50% reported the inability to pay for the high costs.
- Depression among youth is on the rise from 5.9% in 2013 to 8.2% in 2018.
- 64.1% of adolescents facing major depression don’t receive treatment.
- The second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 is suicide.
Seven ways you can make a real impact
1. Mental health fundraising
Be an advocate for those who are struggling and take action by crowdfunding for a cause you’re passionate about. Whether you’d like to start raising money for mental health charities or personally fundraiser to help a loved one with medical expenses, free fundraising on GoFundMe makes it easy for you to give back in a meaningful way.
2. Expand your education
An important step towards spreading awareness is understanding the topic. If you’d like to become an advocate for equal care for mental health, take the time to learn about the different mental illnesses, treatments, and ways that you can offer support. That way, as you share your story and your knowledge with others, people may share their mental health struggles with you—and you may be the first step in their journey to get help.
3. Start a conversation
The stigma attached to mental health makes it a difficult conversation to start. To overcome that stigma, create an environment where open discussion is welcome. Try talking to someone about mental health by sharing your own personal struggles and experiences. Being vulnerable about your journey, may help your friend or loved feel more comfortable sharing what they’re going through.
4. Craft care packages
You can encourage sound mental health by promoting well-being. One way to accomplish this is to organize and send care packages filled with feel-good items. While people should always seek out the help of a medical professional, things like coloring books and calming tea can be a comfort to someone with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. It’s always meaningful to show someone you care with a kind gesture.
5. Share your story
Showing your vulnerabilities is a challenge for everyone, but the impact it can have on others is profound. Comedian and Netflix star Maria Bamford’s fundraiser for stigma-free mental health awareness told her story of having bipolar disorder and raised funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness at the same time. Not only did she share her story, but she raised money for others in similar situations to get help they may be in need of but can’t afford.
6. Go social
Take the initiative to create a hashtag that reflects some aspect of mental health awareness. You can encourage people to start a conversation online by asking your friends to use the hashtag with their online networks. You can also design a cover or profile photo that reminds your online network that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Try to encourage thoughtful and constructive conversation around mental health with your hashtag. Maybe share tips on how you work through a particularly tough anxiety attack so that you can help others in their experiences—and also help them feel less alone.
7. Host a community-wide fundraising event
Get your local community involved by organizing a fundraising event to help raise money for mental health. You can the event educational by designing games that inform those attending about different mental health conditions and how to be a better friend to someone who may be struggling. Make sure you promote your event on channels like social media to get the word out.
Mental health fundraising can make an impact
Help address the stigma around mental health head-on by promoting education and minimizing misconceptions about mental health. Start making an impact today.