April 21, 2010
/ by Kristina Elliott
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:
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 www.adaa.org
Department of Health and Human Services –Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (404) 639-3311 cdcinfo(at)cdc.gov www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth
Mental Health America (703) 684-7722 infoctr(at)mentalhealthamerica.net www.mentalhealthamerica.net
National Institute of Mental Health (301) 443-4513 nimhinfo(at)nih.gov www.nimh.nih.gov
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott Event Dates & History Today from CHASE’S Calendar of Events
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