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#ThePowerOfMay – Part 4

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“MAY We Get Involved and Stay Involved.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

We’ve made it to the fourth and last post in our four-part #ThePowerOfMay series! You might have noticed, they build upon one another, the last post being the most dense. Don’t worry. We’re going to ease out of this series by speaking directly to our colleagues in #MentalHealthcare about the best way to work toward normalizing #MentalIllness, and thereby, getting entire communities to fully embrace “The Power of MAY” year-round!

In the last post, we discussed the importance of seizing the opportunity presented by #MentalHealthAwareness observances – getting people help they may not even know they need. This demands #MentalIllnesses be normalized, which is no easy task. As we explained, this is due in great part to three factors, the first two of which we investigated at length, but the last of which we only glossed over, until now.

The three factors that seem to be hindering normalization of mental illness, and thus, preventing people from seeking #MentalHealth treatment are: 1) a lack of knowledge, 2) a prevailing stigma, and, perhaps the most important because it covers the others, 3) few events involving mass social contact between those with and without mental illnesses. We linked an article from Psychology Today that covered all of this and asserted:

Analysis of these kinds of [mass social contact] events suggests that they (1) improve attitudes towards people with mental health problems, (2)
promote behaviors associated with anti-stigma engagement, and (3) increase future willingness to disclose mental health problems.

Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D.

What do such events look like? Well, the keys to understanding their positive impacts are in the words themselves. “Mass” entails the event will appeal to a large number of people, and not just professionals already in the mental healthcare industry. “Social” requires the event be in the community, and not in the host’s facility. And “Contact” necessitates connecting people, not necessarily around mental health.

As an industry, we have gradually gotten better at reaching out to our communities in more marketable and readily engageable ways (thanks to the likes of celebrities and multiple social media outlets), but at the local level, where necessary resources (let alone celebrities and the time to manage multiple social media outlets) tend to be a bit more difficult to come by, we have our work cut out for us.

As an organization, #Meridian is committed to organizing “mass social contact” events that occur more frequently and we are always ready to support our collaborative partners with their own plans. From our annual 5K (#MilesforMeridian) to our numerous outreach fairs, we strive to bring people together to discover their commonalities, grow their support networks, and strengthen their collective well-beings.

So, in closing, MAY we all commit to getting involved and staying involved in normalizing mental illness, not just during the 40+ days recognized nationally, or even international, but year-round. You can get involved by volunteering at an upcoming event or even offering ideas on future events. A great place to start would be at the Mental Health Symposium. And you can stay involved by attending and inviting others to attend our events. Together we can #BeTheDifference.

Part 4’s Instagramable recap – feel free to snip and share

To learn more about Meridian’s services, please contact 800-330-5615 and follow the prompts – we do have a 24/7 crisis line; just dial option 1. For general inquiries, you can also send us a message on our “Contact Us” page. Thank you for reading. Please share and be on the lookout for Part 3 in this #ThePowerOfMay series next Wednesday! Take care.

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