How & Why to Start Talking About Mental Health
Grace Weatherby
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2023

How & Why to Start Talking About Mental Health

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, millions of people face the reality of living with mental or behavioral health issues. In fact, one in four adults in America experience a mental illness during at least one point throughout their lives.

Thanks in large part to the pandemic, conversations around mental health awareness have never been as public, prevalent, or as important. This awareness is critical to helping us appreciate all that mental health includes (e.g., emotional, psychological, and social well-being) and how it impacts our daily lives.

At every stage of our lives, our mental health impacts how we think, feel, act, and respond, as well as how we handle stress or conflict. And at no point is it more important than at another. We must always be checking in with ourselves and with others to make sure we’re all okay.

It’s important to note that conversations about mental health shouldn’t just be reserved for people dealing with mental health disorders. It is critical that we start conversations about mental health—what it is, how to recognize it, and recognizing that it is a treatable illness. And now, as we mark Mental Health Awareness month, is the perfect time to start.

Ask family, friends, and coworkers how they are doing and really listen to the answers. If they give any indication that they are depressed or anxious, let them know that there are resources available to help. If you sense they might be considering self-harm or suicide, guide them to seek help immediately. Don’t be afraid to open up about your own experiences. When people begin to speak about what they are going through, others will feel more comfortable sharing what they are struggling with. It also corrects misconceptions and changes perspectives in society. It is important to know that if you are wondering whether one person’s efforts can make a difference, the answer is “Absolutely!” Every conversation you have about the importance of recognizing and treating mental illness creates a ripple that reaches people in your circle, community, and far beyond.

The more we talk about mental health, the more likely we are to reduce the stigma around mental health issues. Far too often, the stigma surrounding mental health prevents people from being proactive about their emotional well-being and seeking care that meaningfully improve their lives.

United Counseling Service (UCS) provides outpatient counseling and addiction services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities and Early Childhood Services. If you’re struggling or looking for advice on where to turn for help, help is available Monday through Friday 8am-5pm for anyone living in Bennington County. Simply call 802.442.5491. For more information about UCS visit

Katie Aiken, LMSW, is a Blueprint Clinician with UCS.


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