Today begins #MentalHealthMonth #HealthAwarenessMonth.

I see this as an opportunity to educate others on the importance of awareness for issues of our BRAINS. We don’t often talk about our brains. We talk about Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, etc..

Right now and every day really, we need to take care of our emotional health and well being.

One in 5 US adults experiences a mental illness. Seventeen percent of youth experience a mental health issue.

As we move forward in the workplace, leaders need to be very cognizant of their employees’ mental health.

What individuals FEEL directly correlates to their productivity.

One of my favorite public relations jobs was with Friends Hospital in Philadelphia. The leadership, employees, and my boss made it easy to get up and go to work every day. I think it was the environment. We all worked really hard, but we were respected and trusted by the leadership. We were in it together.

I’ll never forget my favorite PR campaign. It was a May art contest for Philadelphia City schools, “A Happy and Healthy Mind.”

We received so many beautiful art submissions for this project it was hard to choose winners. We even hosted a traveling art show. This community outreach project created a positive impact and received media attention.

Our mission was to destigmatize mental illness by educating the local community on the importance of seeking care when needed and increasing the respect and dignity of those with mental health issues. We also wanted the community to know Friends Hospital was there to support them. This is the purpose and importance of community outreach and public relations campaigns. Serving others through education.

Little did I know back then how that the awareness, respect, and advocacy I gained working at Friends would show up for me years later. Frankly, when I saw the job listing in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Friends Hospital, I was a little bit nervous. I had heard about mental health facilities but never been to one. We all know movies depicting mental illness in the scariest and disrespectful ways.

When I walked into Friends Hospital that day for my interview I was pleasantly surprised. It was warm and inviting. I was so thrilled to be hired to advocate for mental health. I felt like I was on a mission. I still am.

To be honest, I grappled with post-partum depression. My father has Alzheimer’s disease and countless friends and family have encountered everything from Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, and beyond. This is all about the BRAIN.

It’s important for health care experts to share their knowledge and wisdom. Those with mental health challenges need to feel safe and comfortable sharing their stories too.

They are NOT alone.

Here are a few helpful resources:

National Association for Mental Illness:

Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives

What will you do this month to support mental health and wellness?

How will you take care of yourself and your loved ones?

#mentalhealth #healthcare #behavioralhealth #education #Community #communityoutreach #leaders #physicians #MentalHealthMonth #wellness