May is Mental Health Awareness Month
The color of the ribbon that signifies Mental Health Awareness Month is green. As we know, green is also the color of the heart (fourth) chakra. Perhaps this is not a coincidence, as it takes a strong and open heart to live with, or love someone who lives with, one of the many forms that mental illness takes.
But what does AWARENESS really mean, when it comes to this topic?
Maybe we already know some of the statistics, like 50 percent of U.S. adults will suffer from at least one mental illness in their lifetime (Center for Disease Control); that depression accounts for 4.3 percent of the global burden of diseases and is among the largest single causes of disability worldwide (World Health Organization); or that only one-half of the people with mental illnesses receive treatment (National Institute for Mental Health).
We also are probably aware of names of various mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, panic, bipolar, hyper-manic, posttraumatic, schizophrenic, psychotic, eating disorders and so on. Some of us believe we know a little about what these conditions are like from reading a book or watching a movie (appropriately titled with words like dark, alone or interrupted) that depicts mentally-ill characters.
Those who follow the latest science will know that the past decade has been ripe with insight from the fields of genetics and neuroscience as they relate to mental illness. However, neither specialty has identified a specific causality or come to a conclusion or conclusions as to the physical cause or processes involved.
However, therapies and bodymind practices such as Hypnotherapy, NLP and Psychotherapies that use the body (subconcious) as a gateway have shown themselves to be the breakthrough so many are benefiting from. These bodymind techniques and approaces are empowering clients with new techniques to break the “habits” of anxiety, depression and more. Learning psychosomatic wellness techniques is for many the first step towards breaking the cycle and creating new responses and resources.
Maybe the question – What does Mental Illness Awareness mean? – is best answered by people directly involved, like these responses found on the support community section of the International Bipolar Foundation website (ibpf.org). To them awareness means:
“Educating others about the medical nature of mental illness.”
“Helping those with illnesses know they are not alone.”
“Acceptance and love, rather than judgment and shame.”
“An end to the stigma and the beginning of hope.”
Thus, we come back to the heart. Whether metaphorical or chakra-based, it is the shining green energy of love, togetherness and hope for others or ‘the other’ – no matter their journey or challenge – that will help to bring awareness (shine a light) on the darkness of mental illness.