May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Op-ed

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. As the impacts on mental health from COVID-19 linger, raising awareness of mental health and its effect on the well-being of others is important.

Millions of adults and children across America experience mental health conditions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted the mental health of millions of Americans. Even before COVID-19, the prevalence of mental health conditions in our nation was on the rise. In 2019, nearly 52 million adults experienced some form of mental illness.

About one in five Americans live with a mental health condition. Those with mental health conditions are family, friends, classmates, neighbors, and coworkers.

We must show support for those who are having difficult times and check up on the people around us. As an American Musim teen observing Ramadan, I recently came across this verse in the Quran again. I think it emphasizes the importance of checking up on people.

Show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess (Ch. 4 v. 37).

This list includes almost everyone with whom we might come into contact in our lives — certainly those whom we meet on a regular basis. It is important to make an effort to reach out to people and see how they are doing.

Isolation, sickness, grief, job loss, and loss of routines has increased the need for mental health services. Therefore, once again it is important that we all reach out to one another with support.

Throughout virtual school, one of my teachers has made an effort to create mental health check-ins for us. Before our lesson starts, we comment in our class zoom chat how we're feeling, whether it’s "I'm great", "struggling," or "I'm in a really dark place."

Similarly, we should do mental health check-ins with those who are close to us. It’s no secret that things are tough right now. It may feel harder than ever to ask how someone is actually feeling or to start a conversation about their mental health. But sometimes — you just have to ask. You can do this over the phone or even six feet apart — and it only takes ten minutes.

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Maha Laiq
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Maha is a current high school junior from Virginia. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, catching up on binge-worthy TV shows, and spending time with her friends and family.