May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

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Decide to make a difference this month!

1 in 5 young people have, or will have a serious mental illness. 1 in 5! And yet, many youth experiencing a mental health challenge feel like they have no one to talk to, no one who understands them, and nowhere to turn to get help.

Only 20% of young people with mental health challenges receive care, even fewer get effective treatment. In fact, youth wait on average 8-10 years between the onset of symptoms and intervention.

Growing up is hard enough. Add unmet mental health needs into the mix, and it can feel impossible. Not just for young people, but also for their parents, siblings, friends, and whole communities.

You’ve probably read dozens of news stories about “America’s Broken Mental Health System”. Stories of youth with untreated mental illness who may fail in school, get arrested, become homeless, or even take their own lives. When you read those stories you may feel overwhelmed and ask yourself, “What can one person do to help?”

You can do a lot.

We know that when people are educated about mental health and the needs of young people, attitudes change. We know that with quality care and support, youth with mental health challenges can lead hopeful, fulfilling lives, and be successful members of society. When attitudes change and kids have access to quality care, lives are saved.

We know mental health matters!

JOIN US in spreading this message. Here are 5 ways that you can help during Mental Health Awareness Month:

  1. Talk to your friends and family about mental health. Let the people you care about know that you are willing to listen if they are struggling. Learn how to facilitate this conversation and learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness by visiting here.
  2.  Visit the Community Voices section on our blog to read (and share!) stories by young people, family members, and community stakeholders who share their experiences with mental illness to educate and inspire others.
  3.  Help us spread the word and follow us @YoungMindsAdvoc.
  4. Like us on Facebook and change your profile picture to a green ribbon in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
  5. Support Young Minds Advocacy Project through Silicon Valley Gives, a community fundraising effort on May 5th, Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day! Your donation will help us change attitudes and break down barriers to care for young people throughout California and beyond. Donate through SVGives and we’ll send you a green Mental Health Awareness Ribbon to wear throughout the month of May!*

*Green ribbons only available while supplies last. Donate today to get yours!

About the Author:

Annabelle Gardner
Annabelle Gardner is the director of communications at Young Minds and editor in chief of our blog, Hear Me Out. She believes storytelling is a powerful tool for social change.