Across the country, the month of May is celebrated as Mental Health Month. The theme chosen by Mental Health America for the 2022 campaign is Back to Basics. Given all the challenges faced in the last two years, it seems appropriate to return to the basics of mental health care and education! In Washington State, more than one-in-five adults has a diagnosable mental illness, and roughly 40 percent of adults have experienced a behavioral health condition during the pandemic. The goal of Mental Health Month is to increase awareness of the importance of tending to one’s mental health and to ensure all people are aware of the resources available to them.
Caring for individual mental health is often only talked about during periods of distress. The reality is that mental health should receive the same level of preventative care as physical health. While self-care is important and something mentioned frequently in the media, it is often a practice seen as reparative, to be engaged in after stress has occurred. Fortunately, many of the practices recommended to care for your physical health support mental health as well, such as consistent sleep, nourishing foods and appropriate physical activity.
Preventative mental health care is also an invitation to evaluate our work, daily practices and systems to create environments supportive of overall mental health. We are our greatest resource, and we must care for all parts of ourselves. For Mental Health Month 2022, we encourage our members to prioritize caring for their mental health and actively seek out ways to support the mental health of others. Download the 2022 Mental Health Month Toolkit here for materials and resources to help you conduct outreach activities and engage your communities.
Thank you to everyone in our Washington and health care communities for all the ways you have shown up for yourself and others during the last two years. If you are struggling with your mental health, please know that resources are available to offer support:
- Mental Health America offers screening tools to assess your mental health symptoms.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Washington chapter provides virtual support groups across the state.
- Crisis Connections offers many options to get help, including a statewide 24-hour crisis line at 866-427-4747.