As we move into the second week of Mental Health Awareness Month, Excelsior Springs Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions continues to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with mental health. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Month theme is #MoreThanEnough, and as mental health experts, we urge you to take a moment to read this message:
We all have inherent value, regardless of our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background, or ability. We want you to know that simply waking up today is more than enough. You are worthy of love, life, and healing. Remember, showing up for yourself and those around you, just as you are, is more than enough.
So today, let’s come together and embrace our worthiness, no matter what challenges we may face—like the stigmas that still surround mental health conditions and treatments.
Overcoming Stigmas. Individuals facing mental health concerns are often hesitant to seek help due to fear of judgment, retaliation, and discrimination—this is where mental health awareness becomes crucial for reducing stigmas, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, stigmas can have dangerous implications for individuals with mental health conditions, including:
- Bullying, physical violence, or harassment
- Fewer opportunities for work, school, or social activities, or trouble finding housing
- Health insurance that does not adequately cover needed mental health treatment
- Lack of understanding by family, friends, coworkers, or others
- Reduced hope and low self-esteem
- Reluctance to seek help or treatment and a likeliness to stop treatment, even if it is working
- Social isolation or difficulties with social relationships
However, there are actions we can take to combat this. According to NAMI, we can help reduce mental health stigmas by:
- Talking openly about mental health concerns
- Educating yourself and others by sharing facts and experiences
- Encouraging equality between physical and mental health conditions by drawing comparisons to how someone with cancer or diabetes is treated
- Showing compassion for those with mental health concerns
- Being honest about treatment to help normalize mental health care
- Choosing empowerment over shame and refusing to allow others to dictate how you view yourself or feel about yourself
Remaining conscious of how we use specific language lets us own our part in breaking down mental illness stigma. See attached flyer – What is PFL?
Remember, right now, just as you are, you are #MoreThanEnough, and we hope you will join us in acknowledging this, during Mental Health Awareness Month, and every day after, because everyone experiencing mental health concerns has the right to live, love, and heal without reservation or judgment—and especially without stigmas.
Senior Life Solutions is Excelsior Springs Hospital’s program, designed to meet the unique needs of individuals typically 65 and older, experiencing depression or anxiety related to life changes that are often associated with aging. If you or someone you know is struggling, we want you to know we are here to help. So come as you are, for yourself and your community, because that is more than enough.
If you would like more information or education, or if you would like to discuss support, please call 816-629-2629 or visit Senior Life Solutions – Excelsior Springs Hospital (eshospital.org).
Ethan R. Kent, MSW, LCSW, LSCSW, CAGCS
Program Director | Senior Life Solutions