Mental Health Awareness Month


The Campaign

People with a mental illness say that the social stigma attached to mental health conditions and the discrimination they experience can make their hard times worse and make it harder to recover.

Mental illness is common. It affects millions of people, and their friends, families, work colleagues and society in general.

Even though so many people are affected, there is a strong social stigma attached to mental illness, and people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives.

Stigma and discrimination from society, family, friends and employers can make a person feel worse.

Society has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with a mental illness are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.

Stigma and discrimination can also delay or impede their getting help and counseling, and their recovery. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment and poverty are all linked to mental illness.

Stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.

The situation is exacerbated by the media. Media reports often link mental illness with violence, or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives. This is far from the case.

It is illegal to discriminate directly or indirectly against people with mental health problems in public services and functions, access to premises, work, education, associations and transport.  But we know that discrimination exists.

AMHCA has developed a general and comprehensive tool kit to address mental health stigma.  The toolkit on stigma issues, will include proposed op-eds, and letters to the editor that clinical mental health counselors, other mental health providers, and consumers can use and edit to reflect their personnel experience and style, and submit to various media outlets.

If we are to improve the mental health culture of our nation, we need to begin by fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness, ensuring that people can get the help they need, without fear of condemnation or abuse.

With one in five of us affected every year, reducing stigma across all conditions is an important issue for everyone. Greater understanding provides hope.

We hope this campaign provides more understanding on the impact of stigma and the need to eradicate it.


General Awareness

Be alert to passing conversations you may hear that reveal a negative bias to those who suffer from mental health problems and speak out to advocate a more enlightened and compassionate attitude.

Other Resources

Other organizations and their campaigns in Mental Health Month
Mental Health America
Since 1949, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. We welcome other organizations to join us in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI and the rest of the country are raising awareness of mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. Why Care? Campaign: The WhyCare? campaign is an opportunity to share the importance of care in our relationships to others, in mental health treatment and services and in support and education to millions of people, families, caregivers and loved ones affected by mental illness. Demonstrating how and why we care brings more to awareness by showing our actions and connections to others. Care has the power to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions.

National Council for Behavioral Health
To make your outreach during May easier, the National Council developed some materials for its members to use as your own in whatever way you’d like — on social media, on your blog, in your local paper, in your clinics, etc.