Guest Post: Courtesy of Mental Health America and
The National Alliance on Mental Illness
This May is Mental Health Month and Sunrise Community is raising awareness of the importance of speaking up about mental health. Mental health matters to everyone. Individuals, companies, organizations and others can all take the pledge to learn more about mental illness, to see a person for who they are and take action on mental health issues. Take the pledge and raise awareness.
- Learn about mental health—educate yourself and others
- See the person not the illness—strive to listen, understand, tell your personal story
- Take action—spread the word, raise awareness, make a difference
The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) pledge is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms, or are dealing with what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of your recovery. Sunrise wants everyone to know that while “invisible” mental illnesses are real. Recovery is always the goal, and that the best prospects for recovery come when we act Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4).
Addressing mental illnesses B4Stage4 means more than burying feelings and refusing to talk about them, and waiting for symptoms to clear up on their own. B4Stage4 means more than wishing that mental health problems aren’t real, and hoping that they will never get worse. B4Stage4 means, in part, talking about what mental illnesses feel like, and then acting on that information. It means giving voice to feelings and fears as well as to hopes and dreams. It means empowering people as agents of their own recovery. And it means changing the trajectories of our own lives for the better, and helping those we love change theirs. So let’s talk about what life with a mental illness feels like, to voice what we are feeling, and so others can know they are not alone.
Take action on advocacy issues. Policy change is one major way we can make a difference in the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their families. NAMI’s legislative and public policy priorityis to support Americans build better lives. Sunrise applauds NAMI for their work and encourages everyone embrace the Sunrise mission by helping people with disabilities live valued lives in local communities.