Mental Health Awareness Month is an annual observance that takes place in May. It’s a time to raise awareness of mental health issues facing our nation, be able to recognize warning signs, and encourage people to seek treatment if they need it. Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since 1949, with the goal to erase the stigma around mental health and to provide support, awareness, and education on the topic.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month for 2023 is “Take Some Time to Look Around, Look Within” which encourages everyone–from individuals, families, employers, and policymakers to talk about this topic that touches all of us in one way or another.
Mental Health America (MHA) was founded in 1909 to help address the needs of those suffering from mental illness. Each year MHA releases a report on the state of mental health in America. In the 2023 report, studies show that in 2019-2020, 20.78% of adults were experiencing a mental illness – this is equal to over 50 million Americans. Along with the number of Americans suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse, there is a severe shortage of mental health providers. When people are desperate for help, having to wait weeks or months to be seen by a mental health professional can be a life-threatening situation. According to MHA, in the U.S., there are 350 individuals for every one mental health care professional.