Friday, April 2, 2010

Personal reflection on April awareness events

Did you know that April is National Minority Health Month?
Organized through the Dept. of Health & Human Services, the theme for April 2010's awareness campaign is "Man Up for Your Health: Healthy Men Move Communities Forward."

In my work with Erasing the Distance, I have learned that mental illness is an "equal opportunity illness" -- meaning, it does not discriminate based on your racial, cultural, or economic background. Beginning in 2003, NIMH (Nat'l Institute of Mental Health) began a campaign called "Real Men: Real Depression" to help educate that depression commonly affects men and not just women. (We have brochures from this campaign on ETD's resource table following performances).

April is also Alcohol Awareness Month. As far as I can tell, these two campaigns are being conducted separately, and neither are necessarily mental health specific. But mental health plays a role in both the campaigns. Substance abuse is sometimes a coping mechanism for symptoms of an underlying mental illness, or is one half of a dual diagnosis (co-occurring disorder). Jessica does a wonderful job discussing dual diagnosis in this earlier post.

Do you know of events happening in your area related to either of these awareness campaigns? As far as I can tell, the number of events are, unfortunately, pretty slim. I'll be keeping an eye out. Right now, I'm off to a Violence Prevention workshop led by ETD's Brighid O'Shaughnessy.

Wishing you a healthy, happy, and spring-like Friday,
~ Oriana @ Erasing the Distance

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