Mental Health Awareness Month

Written by Allison Rian

What is resilience? The process of adapting well to changes and/or stressors. Environments can be resilient, communities can be resilient, companies, families, and people can be resilient. “May is Mental Health Month” struck a chord with us. Happy Dancing Turtle promotes resilient living, and we want to acknowledge resiliency in all aspects of the human experience.

The nonprofit Mental Health America has been officially promoting “May is Mental Health Month” since 1949. Their mission statement starts: “Our work is driven by our commitment to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness….” One cannot have wellness without mental wellness. Individuals who are “well” are more resilient, and they bring that into their families, workplaces, and communities.

youarenotalone

Resilience isn’t extraordinary, but rather ordinary. It is not a skill that people either have or don’t have; it can be learned and nurtured. Please read The American Psychological Association’s The Road to Resilience. They stress that “The key [to build resilience] is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.” To follow along with Mental Health Awareness Month, in May we’ll be focusing on two strategies that are near and dear: nature and food. Finally, we’ll explore why our farmers, who work with and in nature on a daily basis, are currently fighting mental illness at unprecedented rates and how nature can maybe help in their struggle.

One in five adults in the United States will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. whycare1in5One in five. Think about that. That’s equivalent to your nuclear family, or your group of close friends, or your work team. If someone you cared about came to you and said they were struggling, that they needed help, would you know what to say? The Make It OK campaign is working to “Stop the Silence” and reduce the stigma around mental illnesses. Many people delay getting treatment because of the negative and unfair beliefs that pervade around mental illnesses. The website has eye-opening facts (like the one above), thought-provoking stories, and real down-to-earth tips on what to say and do.

Over forty-three million adults in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a great resource for anyone living with a mental illness diagnosis or anyone supporting a loved one with a diagnosis. There is information on identifying troubling warning signs, finding treatment and support, and much more. For Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI is promoting their “WhyCare?” campaign, and has this simple and heartfelt message:

Care has the power to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Through our own words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives.

Care is a simple 4-letter word, but a powerful way to change lives for people affected by mental illness.

It’s an action. It’s a feeling. It’s a gift we give to ourselves and to each other. People feel loved when someone cares. People feel heard when someone cares. People recover when someone cares. Society changes when people care. Entire systems change when people care.

We hope this helps. The road to resilience has many stops–difficulty, distress, trauma, learning, forgiving, loving, connecting. Find the strategies that work for you, support the strategies that your loved ones are practicing, and reach out to others who are struggling.

If your health insurance doesn’t cover mental health care, or if you don’t have insurance, check with your county’s Health & Human Services. They may have resources and assistance available for you.

If you need to speak with someone, you can phone or text to any of the numbers below:

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline –> 1-800-273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Line –> 1-800-273-8255
  • Teen Crisis Line –> 1-310-855-4673
  • The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Crisis and Suicide Hotline) –> 1-866-488-7386
  • Hopeline Text Service –> Text “MN” or “HopeLine” to 741741

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