The month of May is National Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. Mental Illness is defined as a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. 1 in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental Illness in any given year, whether that being; depression, PTSD, anxiety, or many of the other types of mental illnesses. We all have rainy days and some bright days in our lives, but someone with a mental illness can have, what seems like all rainy days. National mental health month is an excellent way to learn more about mental health and the resources that are out there so more people can have those bright, beautiful days.

Every day people overcome their mental Illness, by doing things that they enjoy. Every person is different, and that means the way that people deal with their health is different. Some people don’t even want the help sometimes, and either can’t bring themselves to do it or genuinely think nothing is wrong. Friends and Family play a considerable part in helping and supporting them; they can be the support the person needs to seek help. Some good things to do if you do have a family member dealing with mental Illness, provided by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness); be attentive to the family member, sometimes things and emotions change. Learn all that you can about how to help, how to seek help, and learn what that family member needs to be healthy again. Take care of yourself as well as the family member in need; if your health is in jeopardy, then there may be little that you can do.

If you are living with a mental illness, you need to know its not your fault or the people around you. There is still a huge misunderstanding with mental illness in society these days with people either thinking it is not a real thing or thinking that mental illness can just be snapped out of, and no It can not be. There isn’t, as NAMI states, “one size fits all” treatment, because everyone feels and reacts differently. Some people have made their own treatments up that works for them, some tools commonly used are; Meditation, therapy, exercise, education, and many other things. Many mental health doctors will tell you to really go out there and do what you know, makes you happy and go from there. Another good thing to keep I mind if you suffer from a mental illness is that, your friends and family love you dearly, and they are always there for support. Unfortunately, we all know that not every family is like that, if that’s the case there are hundreds of online groups, forums, and friends online that are maybe going through the same or similar situation as you are.

This negative view of those with mental health conditions is called Stigma. Stigma is when you yourself, or someone else, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a type of shame felt as a form of judgement or blame from someone else, or an internal feeling, that causes confusion between feeling bad and being bad. Stigma can encourage feelings of isolation and make individuals feel as though they must keep their condition a secret. This can create huge challenges to reaching out for help. The importance of mental health treatment and support should not be undervalued or stigmatized. That is why this Mental Health Awareness Month the Rockford Housing Authority stands with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in their WhyCare? Campaign.

There are many ways to get involved in the WhyCare? Campaign such as by sharing stories about why you care for others, how support or care from others has affected you, or what it means to have access to care. Showing that you care is a powerful way to change lives for people affected by mental illness. Sharing one’s experience helps to remove the stigma and misunderstandings surrounding mental illness. It also shows people struggling with their mental illness that they are not alone and that they do not need to feel shame for their condition.

If you or anyone you know is living with a mental illness, please check out They provide great advice to not only the person living with it, but they’re family and friends as well so that they can make the road to wellness easier, and with you. In the link below is all of the hotlines and resources to find treatment.