Happy Mental Health Awareness Month To All! In case you didn’t know, the entire month of May is devoted to raising awareness for mental health. It is a beautiful dedication to such a worthy cause.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) host the “NAMIWalks Your Way” across the United States to raise awareness for mental health. If you have participated in the walk, then you know the beauty and magic of it, and I hope you continue your participation. If you have not participated in a NAMI walk, then I highly encourage you to do so. If your life has ever been touched by mental health, then this is the place to acknowledge, validate, and lift one another up. It is a wonderfully, moving event. Click here to find a walk near you!

If the walk sounds nice in theory, but would be overwhelming for you, I get it. The pandemic has caused quite a bit of social anxiety. We’ve been isolated for so long, that it can be overwhelming for some to assimilate back into crowds. However, there are still ways you can celebrate and show your support for mental health awareness! One way is to pledge to be stigma free through NAMI. “Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from someone else. Stigma can even come from an internal place, confusing feeling bad with being bad” (NAMI Website). Click here to take the pledge!

Maybe you’re an artist and want to contribute in a creative way. I’ve got you covered! First, make sure to tune into MTV’s Mental Health Day of Action on May 19, 2022. “To help inspire people to talk about their lived experience, destigmatize mental health, and galvanize a movement to drive significant cultural, political and policy changes, this Mental Health Action Day aims to lift the conversation from awareness to action. Each person and company has their own ability to drive change and support this day of action in ways that work best for them, including: community, influencer or employee engagement; amplification; digital events; free support; and product updates. For more information, visit here” (NAMI 2022 Mental Health Awareness Partner Guide). If you’re on the East Coast or or looking for the next music festival to attend, look no further than New York City, specifically Central Park for the Sound Mind Music Festival for Mental Health. This event will take place on May 21, 2022 featuring amazing artists like Cold War Kids and American Authors. Get your tickets here!

If you’re a high school student (ages 16-18), lucky you! There is a “2022 Speaking Up About Mental Health!” essay contest. The National Institute on Mental Health will award multiple winners a total of up to $15,000 in cash prizes. Pretty amazing, right?

Truthfully, it does not matter how you celebrate, it just matters that you celebrate. It can easily be done in an enjoyable way for all. Use your talents and joys to raise awareness for a wonderful cause. Many have been touched by mental health, especially in the recent years due to the pandemic. Don’t wait; Learn more and advocate for mental health today! Thank you to all fellow advocates! We must lift each other up to spread this message of hope. 💜