Mental Health and the Stigma Surrounding it


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

A banner promoting mental health awareness month.

It’s May again, which means it is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since 1949, each May has been dedicated to raising awareness for mental health and recognition of certain mental disabilities. This month may not mean much to you, but it is very important to know about in today’s society. Having awareness helps to educate the public which in return, allows for more recognition of the topic. This awareness also helps to reduce the concentrated stigma that surrounds this taboo topic. Spreading awareness is essential because it eventually leads to newly implemented policies that work to support the millions of people affected by mental health issues. 

Mental Health Awareness Month has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years due to how common it is in today’s society. There are many factors that can affect one’s mental health such as social media, one’s job, or even a relationship. Another obvious factor is the stress of school that many students face. Teens in high school have an even tougher time due to changes in hormone levels, demanding courses, and thoughts of going to college. 

As a population, we are surrounded by environmental stressors which can often leave us feeling overwhelmed. Although everyone can experience mental health problems, they are most common in teens. This is not to say only teens face mental health issues, as this is false. A common mental illness most elderly face is Alzheimer’s. This illness affects a person’s ability to remember specific events while worsening over time. For this reason and many more, it is important to recognize everyone no matter what age.

Although it seems impossible, there are actually many simple ways to improve one’s mental health. Creating a support system amongst a group of friends is a common solution for most people who struggle with mental illnesses. Being able to talk to a group of people with who you feel comfortable is very important and in the long term, it can reduce feelings of depression. Activities practicing self-care such as going to the gym, doing skin care, or even taking a shower have helped people overcome their depression and anxiety as it is an easy way to escape from reality. It is important to remember that everyone is different and different things work for different people so you should cater to your own likes and dislikes.

Mental health is at an all-time high right now and teaching younger generations to advocate for these types of issues is essential to eliminate the stigma from society.