Josh Chandler | May 16, 2022

6 Ways to Get Involved in Mental Health Awareness Month

What Is Mental Health Awareness Month?

National Mental Health Awareness Month is a national movement throughout the United States each May that unites those experiencing mental illness and their loved ones while promoting awareness and providing educational resources to the public about mental health. There are fundraising events and activities to shed light on common issues, services, and support for those suffering from mental illness. The goal is to support people living with mental illness and their friends, families, and caregivers, letting them know they are not alone in their struggles.

The 2022 theme is “Together for Mental Health.” The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new mental health challenges throughout America, like stress, grief, and isolation, so coming together to combat stigma and ignorance is more important than ever. Through blog posts, social media engagement, videos, national in-person events, fundraisers, and sharing personal stories on mental health, people across the nation are coming together.

Awareness and education are essential tools for our society to deal with the mental health crisis because people who are struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety disorders or depression may feel shame or embarrassment or may not know where to turn. Issues like lack of motivation or social phobias may make it difficult to reach out. Lack of crisis care, behavioral health care, and suicide prevention initiatives is still an issue in more rural communities. If health care systems are overloaded, it may be up to volunteer organizations and other social groups to help. 

The fewer stigmas surrounding mental illness and PTSD, and the more people who speak up during Mental Health Month, the better the chances are that more people will find the help they need, including counseling and therapy, rehab programs, and psychiatric medications.

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

Statistics About Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health services have received an enormous increase in demand, as the levels of uncertainty and stress in everybody’s lives have risen. More people have been using drugs alone, resulting in more overdose deaths. People feel more isolated because there are fewer opportunities for outlets like sports, social gatherings, and other activities. This increase in demand, combined with a lack of services, has been reflected in substance misuse and the development of substance use disorders in people struggling to cope.

Mental illness is the cause of several of the top causes of disability in the United States every year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults over the age of 18 have some degree of mental illness, with under half of these people receiving the therapy and/or psychiatric medication they need (around 46%). People who have an untreated mental illness are much more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to help cope if they do not receive proper diagnosis and care.

The following are some important mental health and substance use disorder stats:

  • One in twenty American adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • 7.7 million youth aged 6 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34 and the tenth leading cause of death overall.
  • 90% of people who died by suicide had shown symptoms of mental illness, according to interviews with loved ones and friends
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and transgender adults are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
  • People with mental illness have a much higher unemployment rate and are more likely to drop out of school or repeat a grade.
  • There are 8.4 million people in the U.S. who provide care to somebody with a mental health issue, spending an average of 32 hours per week on unpaid caregiving.
  • It takes on average, 11 years for people who show symptoms of mental illness to receive treatment.
  • Males are less likely to receive treatment from a health provider for a mental health disorder than other groups.
  • 32.1% of people diagnosed with mental illness also experienced substance abuse and additional issues in 2020
  • 15.3% of U.S. veterans experienced a mental illness in 2019, and 8.4% of active military members had a substance use disorder or mental health issues
  • 17.7 million U.S. adults who received mental health care in 2020 experienced delays or cancellations in appointments, 7.3 million had delays getting their prescriptions, and 4.9 million were unable to access the care they needed
  • Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for people under 45 in the U.S., and mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in one of every eight emergency department visits.
  • Addiction’s most common comorbid mental health issues are major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
  • 18% of U.S. young adults aged 18 to 25 reported increased drinking in 2020, and 19% reported increased drug use

Mental illness can also lead to relapse. Learn how to deal with the relapse of a recovering alcoholic here:

How to Deal with a Relapse of a Recovering Alcoholic

How to Get Involved with Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of everyday people join in on mental health month by becoming grassroots volunteers, taking a pledge to be stigma-free, fundraising, attending conventions and awareness events, and sharing their own personal stories with others. They are working to help others feel less alone and more supported. You can join the cause as well by:

Sharing Your Story

On the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, you may fill in a chatbox with your own story about how mental illness has affected your life. You may write about the challenges, what has been helpful, and provide suggestions for changes that would help make life easier for those suffering from mental illness and their loved ones. These stories are then shared via NAMI’s social media account or their website to help others feel less alone.

If you have encountered police while in crisis or know somebody who has, you may also wish to share your story with law enforcement officers in a program called “Share Your Story to Law Enforcement” SYSLE). Presenters will help increase officers’ understanding and empathy during tense situations involving mental health concerns, improving community crisis response and safety.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness advocates for better support options, more medical and mental health services, and more in-depth treatment options for people with mental and emotional health issues. Lobbying politicians, raising awareness, and demanding change is something any American citizen can do to improve people’s lives. If you own a business or brand, you may wish to partner with NAMI in these efforts.

Pledging to be StigmaFree

Stigma against mental illness causes people who are already suffering to feel shame or embarrassment because of judgment, bullying or rejection from others around something they cannot help, or self-judgment. Stigma can result in further isolation, pain, and shame where none is needed.

To be stigma-free, you must educate yourself on mental illness, learning to reject stigmatizing stereotypes and dispel false ideas, like “they are lazy,” “they are weak,” or “they had a poor upbringing.” You have to learn to see the person, not the condition. Everybody is unique, with their own histories and reasons for being where they are in life. Finally, you have to act. This process means pushing for better legislation, stopping people from speaking ill of those with mental health issues, and joining groups like NAMI.  

Finding a NAMIWalk

NAMIWalks are gatherings that happen throughout the country to show solidarity and support and increase mental health awareness while fighting stigma. People gather together on the same day throughout the nation, cheering one another on and showing the world we are here. Fundraising often occurs at these events so organizations can continue to offer free programs as the community strengthens and grows. Find a NAMIWalk near you at

Attend the NAMI National Convention

The NAMI National Convention is a full weekend of over 30 workshops, inspiring talks, films previews, plenaries and special events, gathering mental health advocates and mental health professionals from across the country in one place to discuss issues like crisis response systems, equitable care, best practices, and supporting underserved communities.

Becoming a Fundraiser

The NAMI organization is funded by supporters nationwide, and you can be a part of it too by joining the NAMI DIY Fundraising platform. Plan an event like a bake sale, tournament, or concert, create a memorial page with a donations button to celebrate the life of a loved one, create an online campaign, or ask for donation money instead of a gift during your next special occasion. With your help, we can ease this mental health crisis.

Treatment for Mental Health and Addiction at Muse

People suffering from mental health challenges are more likely to turn to drug and alcohol abuse to help manage the discomfort they are experiencing, causing a substance use disorder alongside mental illness. This is known as a dual diagnosis, and treatment involves an integrated medical detox and rehab program that will treat both issues at the same time through medical care, psychiatric care and medications, therapy, education, counseling, life skills, and relapse prevention programs.

At Muse Treatment Center, we offer dual diagnosis care with medically assisted treatment for detox, inpatient rehab programs, and outpatient rehab programs that may include:

  • Behavioral therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and other one-on-one counseling
  • Educational programs and lectures
  • Group therapy and process groups
  • Spirituality or 12-step methodologies
  • Mindfulness
  • Art therapy
  • Nutrition and fitness counseling
  • Intensive outpatient rehab
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Life skills and vocational skills programs

For alcohol and drug rehab, along with mental health care you can count on, contact Muse Treatment Center at (800) 426-1818 today. We are here for you with trauma-informed, caring treatment providers who are experts in addiction and mental illness.

Mental Health,Treatment,
Josh Chandler
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