Mental Health Awareness Month: Where to Start

Our United Way Helps Ensure Mental Well-Being Is a Reality for Everyone

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a national observance bringing attention to the importance of mental wellbeing. Across the U.S., individuals and organizations raise awareness for and help address the challenges faced by people living with mental health conditions.

Despite recent strides in how our society approaches mental well-being, many Americans still don’t have access to the high-quality, comprehensive treatment and care they need.

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • Only 47.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness receive treatment.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth have a mental health condition, but only 50% receive treatment.
  • 58% of U.S. adults report a sense of loneliness.
  • Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

Why are so many Americans going without treatment for their mental health issues? Cost usually is the biggest reason people go without the help they need. 42% state they cannot afford mental healthcare, and 17% state their health insurance doesn’t pay enough for treatment.

Another barrier: Care for our mental health often is not regarded in the same way as the care for our physical health. A large portion of people experience some sort of mental illness, and being able to talk about it openly and seeking help is critical. Everyone deserves to feel supported and empowered to seek help when needed.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World.” While society is getting better about discussing mental health, it can be hard to know where to start when these pressures are impacting your life.

Help is out there, and hope definitely is possible. At United Way of Broward County, our aim is to empower you.

Knowing where to go is the first step to getting the help you need. Here is a list of free resources available in Broward County when you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties with mental health. These resources can help connect you to the right support for you and your loved ones.

  • Prevention Resource Center — United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention developed this centralized resource as part of its initiative to prevent substance use and promote behavioral health. You can take advantage of a bounty of free information related to supporting mental well-being — such as toolkits, educational materials, videos, webinars, research, action plans and more.
  • 211 Broward — This free, anonymous, 24-7 helpline offering listening support, information, referrals and crisis services. Bilingual staff and telephone interpreter services make sure callers can talk in the language of their choice.
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline — If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, dial 988. This free, 24-7 resource will connect you to compassionate, confidential support. Trained crisis counselors will listen to your concerns, provide support and get you additional help if needed.
  • Free parenting classes in English and Spanish — Research shows preventing and intervening early for young people with mental health conditions dramatically improves immediate and long-term outcomes. United Way of Broward County provides families with tools that can help build healthy and happy families during these challenging times. For more information, call 954-453-3758.
  • InsightTimer — This free meditation app provides a variety of guided meditations, sleep music tracks and talks led by mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers. It is available in five different languages, and options for resources can be secular, scientific, spiritual or religious.

Being able to maintain good mental health is essential to every person’s overall health and well-being. Mental health conditions are common, manageable and treatable. As we honor Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s commit to making our mental well-being the first priority.

Your actions, no matter how small they might seem, contribute to a collective effort in creating a community that values and supports mental health. Getting help for you or someone you know saves lives.