The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness, a time to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and provide education and support to those who deal with mental illness in the United States. Per the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has made 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month slogan, “You Are Not Alone,” spreading the message that millions of Americans struggle with their mental health and nobody has to fight alone.
Some free mental health resources include:
NJ 211 helps people find solutions to personal needs by sharing information about resources in their community. Their website provides a number of resources associated with mental health, such as free hotlines for teenagers and adults to speak to trained professionals about day to day struggles or even depression and anxiety. NJ 211 also offers recommendations for counseling services throughout New Jersey. Information on support groups can also be found on the website. The 2ndFLOOR Youth Hotline (to assist children and adolescents with their day to day concerns) is listed here and the Caring and Crisis Hotline (for people who need to talk to someone because they are depressed, feeling down, or for any other reason) is listed here. For immediate help you can dial 211, enter your zip code and information will be sent to your phone.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA helps individuals find treatment centers for substance abuse whether they are struggling with alcohol abuse or drug addiction. The website also links to their National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which provides confidential support for people in distress 24/7. The number to call is 1-800-273-Talk (8255) and the link to information is available here.
Borrow some recently published books that discuss the current mental health crisis in America, or that include methods to improve your mental health and ways to provide support to loved ones affected by mental illness.
8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise by Christina G. Hibbert
According to the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, “exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.” Christina G. Hibbert’s book 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise includes studies that prove that regular exercise can help relieve stress and anxiety. Sticking to fitness goals and maintaining an exercise program can help improve one’s mental and physical health.
Heads Up : Changing Minds On Mental Health by Melanie Siebert
The World Health Organization states that “The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.” Heads Up : Changing Minds On Mental Health is directed towards teen readers with the intent to help them understand their own mental health early on. The book includes coping strategies for trauma and recovery as well as real-life stories of teens showing resilience in the face of their own mental illnesses.
Bedlam : An Intimate Journey Into America’s Mental Health Crisis by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg
Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg, trained as a psychiatrist in the late 1980s, discovered the ongoing crisis that America faces regarding how it handles mental illness in jails, hospitals, and socially. As one in five adults are diagnosed with mental illness every year, Rosenberg gives “readers an inside look at the historical, political, and economic forces that have resulted in the greatest social crisis of the twenty-first century.” By telling the story of how the system failed his sister, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Rosenberg gives readers an insightful look at the mental health crisis.
Combining personal stories, advice, and humor, Rae Earl’s book provides teens with the perfect A to Z guide on mental health. Having struggled with OCD, anxiety, and an eating disorder as a teenager, Earl is able to provide coping strategies, friendly advice, and firsthand accounts of how she thrived after being diagnosed as a teenager. It is the perfect read “for feeling happier and healthier and learning to navigate life without feeling overwhelmed or isolated.”
College students across campus nationwide experience feelings of anxiety and depression more than ever before. As parents and college staff members, it is important to understand the warning signs of illnesses including depression, sleep disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, impulsive behaviors, and suicide. Kadison has written a book “filled with insights and stories about the current mental health crisis on our nation’s campuses and offers a hands-on guide for helping students overcome stress and succeed in a college environment.”
In her brand new book, Paula Durlofsky examines social media’s effect on mental health. With Americans spending an average of ten hours behind a screen everyday, she explains how the way we use social media should be examined, rather than it being demonized. Durlofsky “details the whys and hows of creating a safe digital space, cultivating digital and social media mindfulness, applying the techniques of metalizing while consuming social media, and decreasing social media and digital reactivity.”
8 Keys to Stress Management by Elizabeth Anne Scott
Elizabeth Anne Scott outlines eight simple keys to help reduce stress quickly. Each of the eight keys can be utilized on a number of different levels. Understanding how to handle stress when it takes a toll on one’s mental health will help create long term resilience habits.