In just a few days it will be May. Along with flowers and budding trees and the enrichment of the landscape, May is Mental Health Month; a time to reflect and act on what we know is necessary for everyone to enjoy positive health.
May is also when NAMI will kick-off its “Why Care?” effort to promote awareness of mental health needs among the one in five individuals affected and to demonstrate why it is that we should all care about mental health. We are stewards of the mental health of others; we can make such a difference if we care.
The WhyCare? campaign demonstrates the power of care to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Through our own words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives. The campaign reminds us that each person has the power to make a difference.
The month of May can also be used to share individual thoughts and words of people living with mental health conditions. We are pleased to be able to publish here a poem that illustrates the power of one person’s voice to tell her story and build awareness.
Dear Mental Illness
You were like a cold that wouldn't go away
I lived in fear of you everyday
I felt like my mind was slowly slipping away
You made me feel like I was lost and out of touch
Like I didn't know which way was up
You tried to control me everyday
I would isolate myself from family and friends
Living in fear and shame
Wondering if the pain would ever go away
And if I would ever be the same
You may have knocked me down
But I got up Standing Tall and Strong
Beating the odds and all
You don't Define me in anyway
I'm so proud of who I am today
I know I'm not in this Walk Alone
Thank you to all of the unsung heroes
Family and friends
And Advocates fighting the fight
until the very end
Dear Mental Illness
We Rise Up!
We Will Stay Strong!
And We Will Conquer You!
Once And For All!
- By Samantha Burton