According to the World Health Organization, one in every eight people in the world lives with a mental disorder involving significant disturbances in thinking, emotional regulation, or behaviour. If you or someone you love has grappled with depression, PTSD, an eating disorder, separation anxiety, or one of many other mental health conditions, you know how hard it can be to function and how invaluable effective care can be.

In 1949, Mental Health America (then called the National Association for Mental Health) started this month-long observance dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, well-being, and condition prevention. Each year, they choose a different theme: for instance, "Look Around, Look Within" (2023) and "Where to Start" (2024). For each year's theme, they provide downloadable free resources available here to help you:

  • LEARN how modern life affects mental health with new resources to navigate our changing world.
  • ACT by building your coping toolbox so you can manage stress, difficult emotions, and challenging situations.
  • ADVOCATE to improve mental health for yourself, your friends and family, and your community.

Another section includes outreach ideas for individuals, organizations, and businesses and employers.

To Name This Day . . .


Raise Awareness:

People with a mental illness, their family, friends, and colleagues often suffer from a lack of awareness about a condition and the resulting stigma -- a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have -- associated with mental illness. The more you read about different illness, the better equipped you will be to counter these stereotypes. Watching a move that dramatizes the effects of stigma can also help. Here are two good ones:

  • A Beautiful Mind is a true biopicture about John Nash, a brilliant Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who struggled with delusions. The need to develop respect for what he was going through is a major element in this path-breaking drama.
  • Rose is a drama about Inger, a schizophrenic woman who goes on a road trip to Paris with her sister and brother-in-law. The other tourists on their bus are unnerved when Inger announces that she is a schizophrenic but she proves their prejudices wrong and becomes a valued member of their tour.