May is National Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. During the pandemic, media attention has highlighted the mental health struggles facing the nation. Mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder are all much harder to face alone. That's why it's important to raise awareness about mental health issues, to destigmatize them and better equip allies as pillars of support.
Providing support on an individual level goes a long way, but businesses can help expand the reach of advocacy and treatment efforts even further by raising money and marketing creatively. A brewery in Iowa has started selling their “Things we don't say” IPA. The cans feature mental health hotline numbers with the hope that anyone who needs help will take that next step.
Mental Health Resources
Almost everyone knows someone touched by mental health struggles. If you are wondering how to help a loved one, the internet is filled with resources including a guide on what to say (and not to say). There are also resources for friends and family on MentalHealth.Gov. And if you need to seek help for a relative, Mental Health America has an online resource to help you out.
If you are worried about your mental health or suffering from a mental illness, there are resources for you. The National Institute for Mental Health is a great place to start. To start with the basics about mental illness, American Psychiatric Association can introduce the topic. For local referrals for treatment, you can call the national SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline (1-877-726-4727). Another important number to know is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also chat online 24/7.
Mental health goes beyond treating mental illness. Whether you feel you may have a specific condition or not, taking care of your mental health is just as critical as physical health. Talk to loved ones, find ways to de-stress, and check in with your emotions. This Tools to Thrive toolkit from Mental Health America is free to download and begin using. You can thrive, and you deserve to do so.
It's National Mental Health Awareness Month, scroll down for gifts and shops which help raise awareness and funds for organizations supporting mental health.
To Write Love on Her Arms
This sweet shirt from To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) will remind everyone you meet that whatever they are going through, they do not have to do it alone. TWLOHA is a “non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The organization's online shop is one way to support their efforts—it's full of affirming messages.
Schizophrenic.NYC was founded by Michelle Hammer, a self-described “Schizophrenic New Yorker.” The organization is dedicated to advocating for New Yorkers experiencing mental illness in conjunction with homelessness. They also hope to change the way the wider world views mental illness. As a result, much of their merchandise features artistic Rorschach Test blots—something that appears uniquely to everyone.
Wear Your Label
“A soft t-shirt with a powerful statement,” this T-shirt for all gender announces how mental health should be: stigma free. Wear Your Label‘s products are meant to uplift you with their messages. The company also donates one dollar from each sale to a charitable initiative. Founded by those living with mental illnesses, they explain that “to ‘wear your label' is to take ownership of your mental health.”
Philosophy, the popular skincare brand, is known for its sleek packaging which muses on different life questions. Their delightful face, body, and fragrance products are more than just an affordable luxury. The company is devoted to supporting mental health initiatives through their hope & grace initiative. The initiative has so far supported over one million women through 74 organizations. This is shampoo you will feel good about.
Tell someone you love that you are here for them with this T-shirt from Active Minds. This organization is devoted to helping those who are struggling with mental illness. Their website includes resources for those struggling during the pandemic, as well tips for students on how to advocate for increases in campus mental health resources. If you are feeling alone, reaching out for help is a critical first step.
Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) has been advocating for mental health for over a century. Their motto is “Fight in the Open.” From overall wellness to early intervention, MHA supports and advocates for a healthy America. For Mental Health Awareness Month, the store has 21% off items. Their main website also hosts countless resources for those struggling and in need of guidance.
Green is the color of mental health awareness. You can wear a subtle tribute to loved ones or your own strength with this cute cotton friendship bracelet from Bracelet4Hope. From each purchase, 10% of proceeds will be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).