Despite how amazing life can be, it can also be very difficult at times. And the last thing anyone should have to do is keep pretending everything is okay when times get tough. It’s simply unhealthy to have to put on a happy face when you’re not okay. This May is Mental Health Awareness Month, when we highlight resources that can help at any level of not-okay.
May was designated National Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949 by the United States Congress due to the increased number of veterans suffering from mental illnesses after returning from World War II. And even earlier, since 1909, the community-based organization Mental Health America has worked to increase awareness of mental health issues by battling stigma, offering support, educating the public, and promoting policies that support the millions of Americans who, on most days, are simply not okay. Be reassured: it’s not new, it’s not just you, and help is out there!
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that more than one in five Americans lived with a mental disorder in 2021. And a 2022 Mental Health America study reveals that 19.86% of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. With 57.8 million individuals not feeling their best, we all likely know someone struggling with mental illness.
Knowing that 1 in 3 people will suffer from a mental health condition in their lifetime, the most compassionate thing we can do is be kind to ourselves when we are not mentally well and extend that same grace to others.
Credico’s mission extends beyond its global presence and sales figures. We deeply value the health and vibrancy of our culture. So when we look at our teams, we see more than just the brilliant achievers of all backgrounds who have chosen Credico as the company with which to enhance and grow their careers. We see their humanity because those intelligent team members have their own hopes, dreams, struggles, and challenges. And that’s why we strive to ensure our work environment is one where people can be a place where they feel okay saying they aren’t okay.
Here are three reasons why it’s okay not to be okay and why we should normalize sharing this reality for everyone at home and work:
#1. It builds community
Sharing our struggles with others and normalizing the reality of mental health issues sends a message to those who may be struggling that they are not alone.
#2. It’s empowering
In 2020, 1 in 6 Americans began therapy for the first time, compared to 1 in 3 who were already seeing a therapist, according to a Vida Health survey. When someone’s life becomes difficult, sharing stories and advice—like going to therapy—builds community and gives more individuals the confidence to seek assistance.
#3. It removes the shame associated with not being okay
Sadly, 47% of Americans believe that going to therapy shows weakness. Given that 30% of Americans now use or have previously taken medication to regulate their mental health, that’s enough reason to remove the stigma associated with asking for assistance when dealing with problems that have an impact on one’s mental health.
Although it may seem difficult or overwhelming to start seeking help, many organizations offer assistance to anyone struggling with their mental health. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers everything from podcasts to classes to a helpline, reminding us that we are #MoreThanEnough. The American Hospital Association shares resources and points out that People Matter, Words Matter. Mental Health America encourages us to take some time to look around, look within. Evaluate your surroundings and see how you can make improvements for the betterment of your mental health.
Matt Haig, journalist and author of the books “Reasons to Stay Alive” and “The Humans,” once said, “Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain, and you feel the rain, but, importantly, you are not the rain.”