September 26, 2022
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May is mental health awareness month but we should support cause all year

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Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of a mental awareness health month.  I understand that it’s a public relations tool to encourage people to recognize that mental health issues are significant, still I can’t help but wonder if it reinforces the idea of ignoring them for the other 11 months. 

I’m in favor of “mental health awareness life”. As a psychiatrist with over 50 years of practice, I’m convinced that we too often ignore early signs of stress and difficulty coping and don’t seek out help until we recognize significant symptoms.  Unfortunately, our health and educational systems facilitate this.  Prevention is a relatively new concept in our health system for medical illness and almost unheard of in psychiatry.  Some health insurance companies will pay for a gym membership but I haven’t heard of many that pay for yoga or mindfulness training or supportive group therapy before there is a formal mental health diagnosis.  And all those modalities might be considered too controversial and too political to entertain in our public school systems.



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