How to Share Your Story for Mental Health Month

"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." -  Edwin Way Teale

May is a time for Spring, Flowers, Memorial Day Cookouts, and most importantly...

May is Mental Health Month

May is time to share our triumphs, our struggles, our compassion, and our fight to end stigma together.
How will you take care of YOU this month? (And every month?)

Celebrating Mental Health

Mental Health America is an amazing organization helping everyone celebrate Mental Health every month, and I couldn't be prouder to be performing and presenting Gutless and Grateful as part of their annual conference next month!

"For over 65 years, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings."
How can you get involved?
Use a hashtag!

#mentalillnessfeelslike

"This year's theme for Mental Health Month is - Life with a Mental Illness - and will call on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike.


Posting with the hashtag will allow people to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through--and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness. Sharing is the key to breaking down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms."

How a Hashtag Brings Us Together: Using Social Media to Share and Support

Nothing feels as scary when each of us raises our voices.  So use the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike for Mental Health Month.  This way, we know we're not alone!

Mental Health America also has wonderful resources for mental health awareness this month. You can download their comprehensive toolkit here.

Gutless & Grateful at Mental Health America

I'm also sharing #mentalillnessfeelslike at Mental Health America's conference this year and I couldn't be prouder.
I discovered storytelling as a way to gain control over uncertain times, and ultimately to transform  obstacles into opportunities.  Sharing my story helped me fight stigma and find community - everything that Mental Health Month is about.   That's why I couldn't be prouder to be presenting at the 
on June 7th to 9th in Alexandria, D.C.  Learn more about the conference
 

Want more ways to get involved with Mental Health this month?

Remember, take care of the light inside you, because no matter how dark life gets...

You are radiant.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for taking care of YOUR mental health:

With an empowered approach to mental health, anyone can be surprised by the strength of the human spirit.

What Does Mental Illness Feel Like For Me?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be rough.  My PTSD was an outgrowth of ten years of medical trauma as well as sexual abuse.It's something I still struggle with.   It can feel like a struggle to speak about difficult times. It's hard to open up.  But we NEED to.  Why keep those memories locked up inside?  When we keep things in, we become numb.  Everything is easier when you know you're not alone. That's why I'm encouraging you to post #mentalillnessfeelslike on social media and share your story.

You're strong enough, no matter what.

Sometimes difficult times can take us on the most beautiful detour of our lives. I call my "post-traumatic growth" my beautiful detour.  The blessings I've received just because these unfortunate events happened in my life are too large to quantify...or even start listing!  The best part? That I'm still here to talk about it, and to share my story.

Sharing is healthy.  

What are you sharing this month?

All artwork was created by Amy on her detour. Watch Amy's TEDx talk on April 16th, learn about her speaking, or catch her touring Gutless & Grateful, her one woman musical, to theatres, colleges, conferences and organizations nationwide.   Learn about her mental health advocacy programs for students, and find out how to take part in the #LoveMyDetour movement, and see where she'll be next.

___________________

If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.