By Dani Portnoy, Behavioral Health and Marketing Intern
May is “Mental Health Awareness Month” and July is “BIPOC Mental Health Month,” and many companies, organizations, and individuals focus on what they can do to help. These two months are committed to supporting those who are affected by mental health challenges, uplifting voices in the community, and providing programs for all. It is essential that we recognize these occasions, and we must take what we learned during these months and apply them to the entire year.
Mental health affects everyone. While the widespread observance of these months is incredible, mental health does not end when the month is over. Talking about mental health is not a trend. For many, mental health is at the forefront of their lives for the entire year. After these months pass, we need to ensure that awareness and progress don’t stop. We must keep ourselves, mental health allies, and workplaces accountable throughout the entire year to make sure our efforts are not performative. Those affected have urged others to remain accountable, like in articles titled “Dear Mental Health Allies: Our Awareness Month ‘Ended.’ Did You Forget About Us?” and “What to Keep in Mind as Mental Health Awareness Month Ends.” It’s on us to make sure that our efforts are both genuine and long-lasting.
Tri-County Health Network is consistently dedicated to spreading awareness and helping individuals with mental health challenges. All year long we provide resources for affordable therapy, work toward linguistic and cultural inclusivity and provide classes on SafeTALK and mental health first aid. In addition, we are committed to addressing social determinants of health to improve the mental health of our community. We also redouble our efforts to raise awareness about mental health during these two months. During May, TCHN team members worked with the surrounding counties to pass proclamations that recognized Mental Health Awareness Month. We also held a community resource fair that highlighted opportunities for community members to continue to #StopTheStigma. During July, we worked to confront implicit bias in our community and uplifted BIPOC voices.
By prioritizing and recognizing mental health all year long, we can shift the perspective on what mental health months can do. Instead of just a month when many start and end their efforts, it can be a time to celebrate our work and progress from the year. Let’s work together to focus on mental health all 365 days of the year!