Since 1949, May has been officially recognized as Mental Health Month. One of the missions of Mental Health Month is to increase general awareness of mental health while also helping those who suffer from it.
This first week in May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental illness is very common in children yet often they don’t get the care they need. According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), mental health problems affect one in five young people. Recognizing the signs of mental illness for anyone is vital. Certain feelings such as: sadness, anxiety, worry, and sleep problems are common for everyone. However, it is when these feelings turn into sustained states and begin to interfere with daily life and relationships when they may indicate a sign of a mental illness. Depression, attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety, conduct, and eating disorders are all types of diagnosable mental disorders found in children.
This year, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) are addressing their awareness campaign through “Do More for 1 in 4.” Do More for 1 in 4 is a call to action to help the 1 in 4 American adults who live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition and the fact that they can go on to live full and productive lives.
Do More for 1 in 4
1. Up to 50 percent of those struggling with a mental health condition do not seek or receive help. Lack of information, absence of health insurance, and the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental illness are the primary reasons why so many go without services.
2. Those who receive treatment can lead rich, productive lives, and many recover completely.
3. The passage of the federal mental health parity and addiction equity act has helped expand access to mental health care. The law is applicable to groups of 50 or more employees. It does not require substance abuse or mental health coverage. However, when coverage is provided the insurance is required to be in keeping with other medical conditions.
4. Adequate access to services are necessary for identifying, treating, and even preventing mental health conditions.
Chances are, you know someone whose life has been touched by mental health; maybe it’s even you. Maybe you’re afraid to talk about it, or tell anyone. But take it from me, if I can embrace my condition, so, too, can you. Anyone can fight back and empower themselves to rediscover their purpose in life.
That is why this Saturday morning (May 12th) I am taking it to the streets for NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) annual 5k walk over the Brooklyn Bridge! The 5K Walk route begins at 10 AM in New York City’s downtown South Street Seaport. My fellow 5,000 walkers & I will travel over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the Seaport for a Post-Walk Wellness Fair with activities such as free massage, yoga, basic health screenings, raffle prizes, and more!
MWellA plans to have our very own tent under which I will sign hundreds of complimentary paperback copies of BETRAYAL OF LOVE AND FREEDOM and share as many lunches comprised of fresh organic roasted turkey filled rolls and bottles of water.
The goal is to raise money for education, advocacy and support services for people who live with mental illness as well as raise awareness and address the social stigmas surrounding mental health issues. As in past years, I cannot wait to participate in the grand event with an even better cause. Creating awareness for those who suffer from mental illness and its related conditions is something I truly feel proud of and believe wholly in. So if you live in the New York City area or nearby, please come and join us! I would love nothing more than to meet all of you in person and celebrate this beautiful cause with you and yours.