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May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Depression, Prevalence, Stigma

Originally posted May 9, 2017.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

As of 2017, the World Health Organization lists depression as the top cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

Just a few years ago, it was number four on the list.


I am blown away.

Mental health is consistently ignored as an important aspect of overall health.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General says : “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves.”

Here’s a great short video from the WHO about how neigh depressed can affect your life. The story moves from being ashamed of depression, trying to deny depression, then moving towards acceptance and reaching out for help and towards life lessons.

You don’t believe there is public stigma and self-shame surrounding mental illness?

With its prevalence, why is there no nationwide Walk for Depression?

Do you know what month is Depression Awareness Month?

October is Depression Awareness Month.

May was designated as Maternal Depression Awareness Month in 2011 by Postpartum Support International.

Do you know the color of the depression ribbon? Everyone knows the color of Breast Cancer ribbon. Not to minimize the suffering that breast cancer causes, but depression is the leading cause of illness around the entire world.

Depression Awareness Ribbon- there it is.

Mental illness is more prevalent than many other more publicized illnesses, and as a society we are very quiet about it.

The mentally ill are dealing with both public and self-shame. Studies show that, in the observer, the stereotype of a person who has a mental illness is someone low-functioning and can’t hold a job (Corrigan et al, 2010). In addition, for the observer, feelings of uneasiness and fear often come up, rather than feelings of compassion (Corrigan et al, 2010). Think about your own reactions to the words “mental illness.” And the person experiencing a mental disorder often has internal shame.

Can you say why World Mental Health Day comes and goes so quietly?

The World Health Organization sponsors this annual event on October 10th

Because there is a great deal of stigma and fear about mental illness.

You can help by becoming aware of the importance of mental health.

Reach out to someone today.


Corrigan, P.W., Morris, S., Larson, Jon; Rafacz, J., Wassel, A., Michaels, P., Wilkniss, S., Batia, K., & Rüsch, N. (2010). Self stigma and coming out about one’s mental illness. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3), 259-275.


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