May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. On April 30, 2021, The White House posted a proclamation from President Biden that emphasized how significantly the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of many while simultaneously creating barriers to treatment.

Mental Health issues had already been on the rise prior to 2019. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the rise has been staggering. Nearly 52 million adults have experienced a mental health issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released data that says: one in four adults are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder; this reflects an increase from 2020 to 2021.

Mental health affects everyone and manifests itself in a variety of conditions such as: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Shockingly, statistics have shown that nearly one in five Americans live with some kind of mental health condition.

There are various themes for in place this year's Mental Health Awareness Month: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has chosen the theme "You are not alone," in an effort to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay. Meanwhile Mental Health America has rolled out a mental health toolkit to support its theme "Tools 2 Thrive," providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation. And across the ocean, the Mental Health Foundation in the UK is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16, 2021) with Nature as its central theme, reinforcing the central role that nature plays in our psychological and emotional health.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard University Health Services established a no-cost support service that works collaboratively across the University to support registered students who are experiencing some degree of anguish with mental health problems.

Here at Countway Library we have been committed to informing our Longwood Campus patrons about mental health conditions and resources for help. We honor help and hope through recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, National Stress Awareness Month and National Month of Hope. We offer ways to help our community not only get the support they need but also some opportunities to help them decompress and relax. Did you know that our Short Story Dispenser (located in the library lobby) uploads historical and current stories on various mental health conditions? The therapy dogs which we affectionately call Countway Cuddles and the Countway Community Garden are also programs that have offered a respite from the rigors of academic life, and we look forward to bringing them back to campus soon! Our Information and Resource Specialists can help provide you with publications on any mental health topic. Countway Library with its newly renovated space is both a sanctuary and a place of community to inspire learning and offer solace to students and postdocs on Longwood Campus.

Countway Cares about…your peace of mind.