May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want to highlight just how important it is that we talk about mental health. Millions of people worldwide are living with mental health issues or a mental illness, and it's time we start talking far more openly about it.
What's more, we need to move the conversation in a more positive direction, allowing ourselves the freedom to discuss mental health without shame or judgment—for others as well as ourselves.
Sadly, mental illness and mental health are often considered incredibly taboo or shameful subjects for so many; something to be "put aside and dealt with privately".
It can be such a painful, confusing topic to discuss, whether you're experiencing mental health issues yourself, or trying to support someone close to you.
What questions are "ok" to ask?
what terminology is appropriate to use?
Maybe you know what you need to share, but don't know who to confide in.
Maybe you're not sure what steps to take beyond talking to a trusted confidant.
But even though it can be so, so difficult to start talking about it, doing so can make all the difference in the world. And this book is a great place to start if you want to get involved in the conversation—by talking or listening, or best of all—both.
(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health is a collection of essays written by authors, actors, and artists who want to start breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental health. All the writers display incredible vulnerability by opening up about the highs and lows of their mental health journeys.
The contributors to (Don't) Call Me Crazy are a diverse group comprised of different genders, races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. What's more, they've all had mental health diagnoses that have significantly impacted their lives.
Some are managing several different mental health diagnoses at once, and some have other health conditions as well. Many of their experiences have similarities, but all stories are unique to the particular storyteller.
One important emphasis (in a book with many important emphases) is how mental health issues and illnesses exist on a vast spectrum and will be experienced differently. Two people can have the same clinical diagnosis, but they may have totally different experiences and need or want different ways to manage it.
I will say with complete honesty that this book can be quite difficult to read. But I think that it is such an important book and so worth giving time to.
Whether or not you have experienced your own mental health issues at some point, I believe this book will be paramount in helping people who are currently struggling to feel less alone.
No matter what you're going through with your mental health, you matter.
Your journey matters.
And if you need support, please visit:
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org)
National Institute of Mental Health (nimh.nih.gov)
Mental Health America (mhanational.org)