For more than 65 years, May has been observed as National Mental Health Awareness Month by organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America (MHA). The goal is to educate communities about psychological disorders while reducing the stigma around mental health.

Recognizing May as National Mental Health Awareness Month seems particularly important this year, as the impacts on mental health from COVID-19 continue to linger. Key findings from a recent study conducted by Mental Health America, show that the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. Additionally, more people are reporting frequent thoughts of suicide and self-harm, and young people seem to be struggling the most with their mental health.

Societal pressure and stigmas often prevent individuals from accessing care. Loved ones do not always encourage those who are struggling to get the help they need as many people still think mental health issues are simply a result of poor choices and lack of willpower to “snap out of it.” As with medical health concerns, a combination of factors can bring upon mental health issues – and professional care can help to treat the individual and direct them on a healthier path.