May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since 1949. It was started by the Mental Health America organization to increase awareness of the importance of mental health as being a critical part of overall wellness. Every May, The National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) joins this national movement in order to raise awareness about mental health and fight the stigma associated with mental illness.
Locally, NAMI Main Line PA, an affiliate of NAMI, provides information, education, and support to people with mental illness, their families and friends…with recovery as the goal, all free-of-charge.
This month, NAMI will be celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month with its More Than Enough Campaign! The theme provides an opportunity for us all to come together and support those dealing with the challenges of a mental health diagnosis by encouraging them to understand that who they are and what they do every day is enough, and that they deserve to live a happy and healthy life.
Those words, More Than Enough, resonated so strongly with me that I wanted to share them with you in case you or someone you love is feeling that they are not enough. I connected to this year’s theme because of my son’s mental health struggles. Last summer, in the hopes of raising awareness on Eating Disorders, which are mental health illnesses, I shared with you our very personal story. Today, almost a year later to the day he was hospitalized, we now know with certainty that part of what led to his Eating Disorder, was the feeling that he was not enough…not enough for his friends, his teachers, or even his family.
Thankfully, through counseling, therapy and the support of his family, friends and teachers, he has learned that he too is #MoreThanEnough, and is also proud of where he is with his recovery. He knows it’s day to day, and some days are harder than others, but he also knows that he does not have to face each day alone. In celebration of Mental Health Awareness month and to continue to raise awareness about the importance of seeking help, he recently decided to share the following update on his recovery with his friends, peers, and family:
“I’ve battled with deciding whether or not to make this post, but at the end of the day it’s more important than any perception or interpretation of me, that I raise awareness.
If this post inspires even just one person to understand ED recovery is possible, it will have been beyond worth it.
A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to be told by my doctors that I have reached weight stability, something my family and I have been waiting to hear for a long time. While most of my close friends and family knew about my situation over the last year, some did not. Last April, I was admitted into CHOP after an abnormal EKG, and quickly diagnosed with severe anorexia. Every part of me was malnourished, which included, most dramatically, my heart. I was at CHOP under the best care I could’ve asked for by my nurses, doctors, friends, and family for 3 weeks. Upon discharge, the work did not and has not ended. Through many ups and downs, I was blessed to have my family and friends by my side, holding my hand through every triumph and every trial. Special shout-out to momma mcnick, who dealt with the ups and downs more than anyone. No words can describe how much I love you, ma ❤️.
By posting this, I’m hoping to show you that you are never alone. My ED was only one aspect of my mental struggles, but quickly became the most severe. Eating disorders stem from mental struggles, cultural expectations, body dysmorphia, your surroundings, and more. No matter who you are or what you’re going through, please know that you TRULY never are alone. Take it from me, hiding and suppressing these struggles will only hurt you long term.
If you are struggling or know someone struggling, recovery is possible. Whether it is a loved one, peer, or adult, please reach out. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. I promise you, seeking help is beyond worth it. You are worth it. Even those who you least expect can be struggling the most. I’m only ever a call/text/Snapchat/dm away, and always will be.” -MJM
To say that I am proud that my son shared his story is an understatement. Telling his story shows that being vulnerable, and openly and honestly talking about mental health is more than okay; it is critical to our overall health. It’s a sign of strength and courage.
Mental health affects ALL of us. Help get the word out in your community by starting the conversation today! Check out NAMI Mainline PA for ideas on how you can be a part of the MoreThanEnough Campaign!
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
During National Mental Health Awareness Month in May and every month of the year, your mental health matters. Get tips and resources from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to learn how to take care of your mental health.
Need Support Now? If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org or in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the county crisis lines are:
Bucks County: 800.499.7455
Chester County: 877.918.2100
Delaware County: 855.889.7827
Montgomery County: 855.634.4673
Philadelphia County: 215.686.4420
NAMI Main Line PA Support Groups
NAMI Main Line PA Programs and Classes
NAMI Podcasts & Webinars
NAMI Web Articles, Resources & Blogs:
Why do we have the feeling that we are not enough?
Family Members & Caregivers
Identity & Culture
Youth & Young Adults