Together for Mental Health: Mental Health Awareness Month

By Alexa Rivera

What is Mental Health Awareness Month? 

Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is in May of each year. MHAM serves as an opportunity to amplify the voices of those living with mental or behavioral health issues, raise awareness of the importance of mental health, reduce stigma and fight for better mental health parity.  

Mental Health Awareness Month was founded by Mental Health American organization to raise awareness and education about mental illness. It was officially recognized by Congress in 1949, with its recognition being two-fold: the increasing number of veterans suffering from mental illness after World War II, and an increased spotlight on the poor and negligent treatment of those suffering from mental illness in medical institutions at the time.  

A lot has changed in the 73 years since Mental Health Awareness Month was founded, with numerous government interventions helping to the close the gap in mental health care and ensure the rights of those with mental disorders, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008), the Affordable Care Act (2010), among many others. While we’ve come so far, we still have a lot of work to do. 


Why is Mental Health Awareness Month Important? 

Whether you personally suffer with a mental health issue or not, Mental Health Awareness Month helps people recognize the importance of mental health and how it affects daily living; educates people on how to access resources, manage and cope with mental health issues and spotlights how one can be an active advocate for mental health parity in their daily lives. 

46% of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life. Even if you don’t personally benefit from mental health resources or advocacy right now, there may come a time in your life when you do. The goal of MHAM is to ensure that everybody who needs care can access that care free from stigma, whenever or however they need it — that includes you! 

Mental health awareness also creates a downstream effect for those not suffering from a mental health disorder. People without mental health disorders can also benefit from talk therapy, support groups or family/marital counseling to help with stress and relationships free from stigma.  


Together for Mental Health 

This year’s theme is Together for Mental Health, with the goal of bringing our voices together to advocate for mental health. Many people feel isolated and alone experiencing their mental illness. Despite a myriad of communities, support groups and resources, people continue to suffer silently because of stigma. Together, we can change the narrative. Together, we can fight stigma so that communities can blossom, support groups can be attended and resources are plenty. We are stronger united than we are a part, and together we can ensure no one suffers silently.  


How Can You Get Involved? 

  • Amplify voices: support and amplify the voices of those living with mental health issues and choose the share the experiences they’ve had in their communities 

  • Start the conversation: let your friends and family members know you’re a safe person to confide in 

  • End the stigma: change the narrative by standing up against stigmatizing ideas and language 

  • Share your story: if you feel safe and comfortable, share your experiences in private to your loved ones or publicly to show others they’re not alone 



ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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