Apr 21, 2010 / by Kristina Elliott


National Mental Health Month

When: May 1 – 31

What: Americans face stress every day, whether in the workplace, at home, or in relationships. While stress is an unavoidable part of life, it can take a serious toll on happiness and health, both physical and mental. Sustained, high levels of stress can weaken the immune system or develop into chronic mental disorders, such as depression. This May, promote healthy, effective ways to manage stress during National Mental Health Month.

Background: Mental Health America started Mental Health Week in 1949 and later expanded the campaign into National Mental Health Month. This year’s theme is Live Your Life Well. The effort promotes ways Americans can cope with everyday stresses and challenges in order to maintain mental health and better their lives.

Story Pitch: May provides an opportunity for mental health organizations to raise awareness of different mental disorders and share ways to find professional help. Workplaces can implement programs aimed at reducing workers’ stress. Companies and groups in stress management can promote their stress relief products or techniques.

Story Hook: Mental health is something all people can take steps to protect. According to the National Institute of Public Health, nearly 58 million adults, or 26 percent of Americans, have a mental disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common type, affecting 40 million Americans. What are some ways mental illness can impact society as well as sufferers? Consider these questions as you make your pitch:

  • What is the most common source of stress among Americans? What are everyday ways to reduce stress?
  • How treatable are most mental disorders? What are the rates of success, and how can people suffering from mental illnesses find help?
  • Are certain demographics overlooked when it comes to treating mental disorders? Do some mental disorders affect certain age groups disproportionately? Are some mental disorders more common in men than women, and vice versa?
  • Helping others and staying socially connected are proven ways to cope with stress. How can communities help each other stay mentally healthy?

Tips: When making your pitch, include contact information for a representative from a health organization who can share ways people can find help and treatment for mental disorders. To challenge stigmas surrounding the mentally ill, provide a prominent member of the community affected by a mental disorder to speak on his or her experiences.


Anxiety Disorders Association of America
(240) 485-1001

Department of Health and Human Services
–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(404) 639-3311

Mental Health America
(703) 684-7722

National Institute of Mental Health
(301) 443-4513

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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