The following is an introductory message from Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America:
May is Mental Health Month, and it has never been more important than this year. Until now, there were still some people who believed that mental health wasn’t everyone’s concern. They thought that our annual mental health resources – even though they were shared with millions – were aimed at just a small group of people – the one in five who have a mental health concern in any given year.
That isn’t the case today. Just weeks ago, we had no idea that all our worlds were going to be turned upside down by the coronavirus. Or that the associated worry, isolation, loneliness, and anxiety would be something that literally everyone – all five in five – would experience.
We always intended to focus MHA’s Mental Health Month toolkit this year on resiliency, offering tools to thrive at any time. We now believe that these tools – even those that we all may have to adapt for the short term because of social distancing – will be more useful than ever. But we’re also offering something more.
There is bonus material in the toolkit specifically focused on the coronavirus, and how we can all work together to support our mental health in the face of uncertainty. In addition, we will be adding additional resources as the weeks go by, leading up to Mental Health Month. Meanwhile, let’s keep two things front and center:
First, mental health screening is essential during times of stress. We have set an ambitious goal of a million mental health screens in May. Take a screen. And tell your friends to take a screen, too. It is more important than ever to take care of our mental health.
Second, it is important to look forward and to focus on what we need to do to thrive in uncertain times. And the tools in this year’s toolkit will also help us do just that.
May you stay safe and well!
Elaine Jurkowski, PH.D, M.S.W., President of the Mental Health and Aging Network