Mental Health Awareness: Day, Month & Color

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Every day, hundreds of millions of people struggle with the symptoms and effects mental health disorders. Yet even though these conditions are so common, many people still regard them with misinformed stigma or misplaced shame. As we prepare for the 2024 edition of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s make this the year when discrimination on the basis of mental illness is finally relegated to the dustbin of history.

What is Mental Health Awareness?

“There is no country, society or culture where people with mental illness have the same societal value as people without a mental illness.”

Noted sociologist Erving Goffman wrote the previous sentence in his landmark book Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, which was published in 1963.

Nearly 60 years later, we would like to believe that the world is a more compassionate and supportive place for individuals whose lives have been affected by mental health disorders. But the unfortunate truth is that mental health stigma remains pervasive in the United States and throughout the rest of the world.

Mental health awareness efforts are designed to disseminate facts about mental health, treatment, and recovery; promote greater understanding among the general public; and eradicate stigma. 

When is Mental Health Awareness Month?

In the U.S., Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is observed every May.

This monthlong campaign originated as Mental Health Week in 1949. The first awareness week was a joint initiative by Mental Health America (MHA) and the U.S. Junior Chamber (the Jaycees), which is a national leadership training service nonprofit corporation.

Today, several prominent organizations support Mental Health Awareness Month. In addition to MHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also play leading roles in this annual effort to reduce stigma and promote greater understanding. 

Is There a Mental Health Awareness Day or Week?

Within this year’s observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, SAMHSA has designated themes and key messages for each week:

  • May 1-4 (Older Adults): As we age, we may experience life changes that impact our mental health. It’s never too late to get help.
  • May 5-11 (Children and Teens): Start the conversation early. Talking about mental health can help children and teens build coping skills and feel comfortable with their emotions.
  • May 12-18 (Pregnant and Postpartum People): Depression, anxiety, and other symptoms during and after pregnancy are common and treatable. They affect new parents of every culture, age, gender, race, and income level.
  • May 19-25 (Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups): Everyone deserves access to respectful and culturally appropriate care. Addressing and reducing barriers to treatment are the first steps to building more equitable health systems.
  • May 26-31 (LGBTQIA+ Communities): Inclusive families, schools, and societies can support mental health in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Separate from Mental Health Awareness Month, domestic and international organizations have also established the following observances:

  • In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is May 13-19.
  • Since 1990, NAMI has also sponsored Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) during the first full week of October. This year, MIAW is Oct. 6th-12th.
  • Since 1992, World Mental Health Day has been observed every year on October 10.

What Is the Color for Mental Health Awareness?

Mental Health Awareness ribbon color is greenGreen is the color that is most widely associated with mental health awareness events and observances. Here are a few examples of how this color can be used:

  • Some event organizers request that attendees wear green. 
  • Many online outreach efforts incorporate green into their graphics. 
  • Mental Health America is encouraging owners of buildings, stadiums, and other structures to light their facilities in green this year.

Is There a Mental Health Awareness Ribbon?

Keeping with the green theme that we discussed in the previous section, the green ribbon is used internationally to show support for mental health awareness throughout the year.

How Can You Take Part in Mental Health Awareness Month?

There are myriad ways for individuals, groups, companies, and other organizations to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month. This includes both in-person and online participation. Here are a few ways you can take part:

  • Conduct online research to find mental health awareness events near you. 
  • Volunteer to help your school, company, organization, or community create in-person or virtual events to promote mental health awareness. 
  • SAMHSA’s free Mental Health Awareness Month toolkit includes virtual backgrounds and stickers, suggestions for incorporating related hashtags into social media posts, and valuable guidance to ensure you are using inclusive language when creating content about mental health.
  • Mental Health America also offers a free toolkit (which can be downloaded after providing your email address on this page). The MHA toolkit includes posters, fact sheets, coping tools, media messages, outreach suggestions, Zoom backgrounds, and sharable social media graphics.

Contact Conscious Health About Our Mental Health Treatment

If you have been living with a mental illness, please don’t let misinformation or a lack of awareness prevent you from getting the care you deserve.  

Conscious Health is a trusted provider of personalized outpatient treatment and telehealth services for adults whose lives have been disrupted by anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a wide range of other mental health concerns. 

When you choose to heal at our center in Los Angeles, California, you can expect to receive customized services and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled and deeply compassionate caregivers.   

To learn more about how we can help, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

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