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  • Writer's pictureMissy Fogarty, LCAT

May flowers and Mental Health Month

Updated: May 7, 2023

A colorful bed of tulips

Everyday there is an awareness day of something

I generally don’t track of various awareness months, or even days as they tend to border on the ridiculous. I wanted to remember World Music Therapy Day, and thought it was coming up. It’s March 1st. Wow, I really missed it. What else have I missed this past week?

This past Sunday, April 30, was, according to National Day Calendar, International Jazz Day (I had a vague awareness of that, since I’m into jazz and am a member of WBGO, so I think I heard that on the air). The same source reports that it was also National Honesty Day, and National Raisin Day. It turns out it was also Mr. Potatohead Day, too (and more, but I’ll stop there). Whew! There was so much packed into that day I won’t bother to go through the rest of the week, except for today. So glad I looked into this. May 6th is Beer Pong Awareness Day. Hooray! Hope those who would be into that aren't too hungover from quaffing margaritas on Cinco de Mayo.

It's also Naked Gardening Day. There are quite a few neighbors planting in our co-op garden right now. I'm not sure they got that memo, although I’m loathe to double-check. It’s also International No Diet Day, which makes me feel a little less guilty about the almond croissant I’m planning on having this afternoon. I've already eating a croque monsieur - basically a fancy grilled cheese and ham sandwich. (I made a little detour to a French Patisserie when I was out today and I ordered the croissant to go). I wish I could completely wipe out all twinges of guilt from these indulgences since it's No Diet Day, but alas, it's also National Crepe Suzette Day, so I made the wrong choice. Had I known, I may have gone to a creperie instead of a boulangerie (bakery). Oh well. At least I know now that we can all be informed about these special days in advance, now that I have access to the national day calendar.

But seriously...

There are some serious things on the National Day calendar. Today is Childhood Stroke Awareness Day (yikes, how sad that childhood stroke is even a thing. My awareness has just been raised), and National Nurses Day (they definitely should be commemorated in some way). I’m sure whatever happens on these days is a bit random and hyper-local. I imaging hospitals are recognizing their nurses and some parents who have had to take care of children who have had strokes might be sponsoring an event. Beer pong aside, these days can be meaningful and a way to educate and appreciate (Okay, I shouldn’t put Beer Pong down. It wouldn't be a day if it didn't have its fans!).

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Awareness Month is taking place throughout the month of May. I heard it over the airwaves on WBGO. I truly see the value in this. In this country, we are in the midst of enduring a mental health crisis, especially where our youth are concerned. There are so many issues. So, I’m going to take advantage and do my little part to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month and try to bring some awareness to some issues with a series of blog posts this month. But first, how did this even become a thing?

Mental Health Awareness Month (or Mental Health Month) was first observed in the United States in 1949 by Mental Health America (MHA), a group that has been in existence since 1909. Many organizations and individuals around the world have joined in the effort to promote mental health awareness. Mental Health Month is observed every May to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to promote education and understanding of mental illness. The goal of the month-long observance is to continue the work MHA began decades ago: increase public awareness about the importance of mental health and the prevalence of mental health conditions, encourage people to seek help when they need it, reduce stigma by promoting education and understanding, increase advocacy for mental health issues, including efforts to improve policies and increase funding for mental health services, and improve access to care.

Look out for events and workshops that may be happening in your community to help people learn more about mental health. Make yourself available to any resources that might be out there so that you can learn more, and take necessary steps to take care of your mental wellbeing as well as your loved ones.

As a society, we desperately need to prioritize mental health and promote access to mental health resources. Mental health month is a good way to remind everyone that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that seeking help for mental health issues is a sign of strength, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Reducing stigma is so important! We can do this by telling our stories and by listening to others’ stories.

Stay tuned for more blogs this month, in honor of Mental Health Month. I welcome your stories, comments, and feedback.

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