May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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Resources

Banner for May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The "Reframing Language" infographic from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was created in partnership with the National Family Support Technical Assistance Center (NFSTAC). The infographic is designed to inspire new thinking and change the way we talk about mental health and substance use to help us better support individuals and families who are affected by these challenges. Download the full infographic PDF file.

Thumbnail of header of the Reframing Language infographic for Mental Health.

SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.

Spread Acceptance and Support for the People We Know and Love Who Are Experiencing Mental Health Challenges

When it comes to mental health, small actions equal big impact.

  • If you are worried about your mental health or are worried about someone you know, there are resources and people out there who are willing to help, no matter what your situation is.
  • Talking about mental health helps promote acceptance and encourages people to seek help.
  • Whether we share resources, encourage others to seek help, or simply are there for someone when they need us, we instill hope and can help others to reach out when they need to most.

Strategies for Managing Mental Health Such as Self-Care

Self-care is important for your mental health.

  • Despite life's stressors, there are many things that you can do to maintain positive mental health, including self-care.
  • Mental health is essential to your overall health and quality of life.
  • When you take care of yourself, your physical and emotional health improve; you become more resilient and can find ways to manage stress in a healthy and positive way.
  • Taking care of yourself is an essential part of your mental health.

Promote Acceptance and Compassion Surrounding Mental Illness

Language matters; let's work together to use person-first language and avoid derogatory terms.

We play a part in one another's mental wellness.

  • Language matters. The language we use to talk about mental health can either perpetuate prejudice and discrimination or promote acceptance and compassion. When it comes to mental health, words matter.
  • It is up to each of us to be a lifeline, sharing in a commitment to care for ourselves and for those around us.
  • When we use open and compassionate language around mental health issues, we empower ourselves and encourage others to find the help they need.

Encourage Individuals to Seek Help if They Need It

This includes the importance of supporting others by offering words of encouragement and celebrating small successes.

Let's support each other and make it okay to reach out and seek help whenever we need it.

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues so that we can all work together to support one another.
  • If you are worried about your mental health or are worried about someone you know, there are resources and people out there who are willing to help, no matter what your situation is.
  • Whether we share resources, encourage others to seek help, or simply are there for someone when they need us, we can instill hope and can help others to reach out when they need it most.

Focus on Hope and Positivity and Support One Another by Sharing Key Resources

No matter the situation, there is always help and there is always hope.

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues so that we can all work together to support one another.
  • If you are worried about your mental health or are worried about someone you know, there are resources and people out there who are willing to help, no matter what your situation is.
  • Whether we share resources, encourage others to seek help, or simply are there for someone when they need us, we can instill hope and can help others to reach out when they need it most.

Support a National Disability ID

A man in Ohio was driving and was pulled over by law enforcement. When asked, the man handed over his license, but did not make eye contact with the officer. The officer became suspicious. The man began fumbling around in his car and the officer suspected that he might be intoxicated. The man was subsequently pulled from his car and handcuffed. Only later did the officers find out that the man has autism.

In Colorado, a woman parked her car in an accessible parking space and walked into a department store to shop. While in the store, the woman used an electric scooter to help her move around. When the woman returned to her car, a police car pulled behind her with lights flashing, blocking her exit. The woman explained that she had Multiple Sclerosis and even showed an MS ID card. The woman also noted that she had a valid handicap placard that allowed her to park in the accessible parking space, to which the officer replied, "You're not disabled, I saw you walk into the store."

What if the man from Ohio or the woman from Colorado had an "approved designated symbol" on their driver's license, something that validated their disability or chronic illness, oftentimes not readily visible, these interactions may have gone differently.

Indivisible Disability Association (IDA) – National Disability ID website

Graphic symbol representing a person with a disability designed by the Indivisible Disability Association (IDA).

Under the National Disability ID Initiative (NDID) of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA), the IDA is pursuing legislation in every state that will allow for voluntary disclosure on government IDs for anyone with any disability, illness, or chronic pain. No personal information is stored on the ID to protect the privacy of the individual and their specific disability. The symbol provides DMV recognition of the person's disability and the need for possible accommodations. Alaska is the first state to have passed this much needed legislation (https://doa.alaska.gov/dmv/akol/designator.htm) with the passing of House Bill 16 on May 15, 2017. The IDA is currently working directly with legislators across the nation to advance this initiative.

How can you help?

  1. Contact your legislators!! Ask them to get in touch with the IDA so they can pass legislation in your state.
  2. Help support the funding needed for the lobbying efforts and creating the certification programming for law enforcement and first responders. IDA is initially seeking $50,000-$200,000 immediately to keep the NDID moving forward. Every little bit helps!
  3. Post or "like" one of the NDID links on your Facebook page, Instagram story, or Twitter feed.
  4. Tell your friends and family to get involved!
  5. Order some IDA "Invisible No More" wristbands to share with others to help raise awareness.

Mark Invisible Disability Week on your calendar: 18 October to 24 October 2020.