May is Mental Health Month, a commemoration that started in 1949, with a purpose of raising awareness of mental health conditions and mental wellness for all. This year’s theme is Do More for 1in4. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year. That is nearly 60 million people. Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. The message of the month is that mental health disorders are real, common and treatable, and together we can do more to help the 1 in 4 Americans who live with these disorders.
A special focus of the month is also on raising the awareness of trauma and how, left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Trauma can be defined as having lived through threatening events or Witnessing terrible things happening to others. It might include any of the following:
- Interpersonal violence – such as abuse, rape, domestic violence, and bullying
- Social violence — such as war, terrorism, and living under oppressive political regimes
- Natural disasters and accidents — such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and auto crashes
- Serving in combat
- Chronic social stressors – such as racism, sexism, poverty, humiliation and cultural dislocation
- Childhood trauma – including physical, emotional and sexual abuse; emotional and physical neglect; a parent who’s an alcoholic or addicted to other drugs; a mother who’s been battered; a family member in prison or diagnosed with mental illness; and a loss of a parent through divorce or abandonment
Download tool kits for Do More for 1in4 or Healing Trauma’s Invisible Wounds.
Women’s Health Week
May 13-19 marks Women’s Health Week, when women are urged to take care of themselves. So often, women are the caretakers and may put their own well being on the back burner. During this week, women are urged to:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings
- Get active and eat healthy
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet
May 14th is designated as National Women’s Checkup Day for early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions.
Other May health observances
Some of the other areas of health and wellness that are observed in the month of May below. There are many more health observances in May, but we focused on ones that have tools or information that could be used in your wellness programs.
- Arthritis Awareness Month
- Better Hearing & Speech Month
- Healthy Vision Month
- Lupus Awareness Month
- Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
Specific days or weeks:
May 18: HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
May 19: Hepatitis Testing Day
may 21-27: Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week
May 27 to June 2: National Hurricane Preparedness Week
May 30: National Senior Fitness Day
May 31: World No Tobacco Day
ESI EAP offers a variety of wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. your EAP can help. If you are employer that doesn’t have an EAP, call us at 800-535-4841.