Raise Awareness for Mental Health

5 min read

October is a busy time for public libraries. The school year is back in full swing, and Halloween is fast approaching. You’re undoubtedly eager to decorate display boards with colorful paper leaves and stock shelves with spooky children’s stories.

October may be synonymous with pumpkins and hayrides, but it’s also a chance to raise awareness about and share resources for mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate mental health workers, destigmatize mental healthcare, and work toward meaningful solutions.

This October, utilize Gale Health and Wellness to show your support for World Mental Health Day. Guide patrons to reliable information on mental health and, when needed, help them seek resources for themselves and their loved ones.

Shed Light on Common Concerns

Mental health concerns are growing, especially among younger populations. Student mental health plummeted throughout and following the pandemic. Data from the American Psychological Association suggests that members of Generation Z are significantly affected. However, Americans of all ages are experiencing elevated stress and symptoms of depression, and 1 in 20 adults suffers from a severe mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, affected individuals often are delayed in seeking help. Americans face barriers to mental health treatment, most notably stigma and cost. Gale Health and Wellness is a continuously updated resource that empowers patrons to research their concerns and develop compassion for others. Gale experts ensure the database is reliable and up-to-date so that users are appropriately informed and trust the results.

Within the database, librarians can discover dedicated portals for common illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Consider creating FAQ sheets or myth-busting bookmarks to normalize the conversation about these very real diseases. Include information about early warning signs, symptoms, and free resources for treatment. Accurate, accessible, and nonjudgmental discussions around mental health are vital to empower individuals to seek help.

Share Mental Health Efforts Around the World

The United States is not alone in this health epidemic. For World Mental Health Day, you might also feature mental health-related information from around the world. Expanding our perspective on mental health can help standardize the conversations and build empathy. All cultures, no matter their languages or customs, experience similar issues with mental health, and everyone can play a role in creating meaningful solutions.

Gale Health and Wellness houses news articles, topical summaries, and academic journal entries on mental health worldwide. Learn how Japan works toward improving its approach to eating disorder treatment. Study new depression interventions published in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association. Or, see how a Canadian university uses music therapy to help individuals with a substance abuse disorder. Mental health solutions know no borders.

The WHO launched World Mental Health Day to create a platform for mental health professionals worldwide to share their recommendations and collaborate on new initiatives. In your library, you can leverage Gale Health and Wellness to raise mental health awareness for people of all cultural backgrounds. Americans can learn from other countries’ struggles and solutions.

Mobilize Your Community

This October, sharing the accurate information housed in Gale Health and Wellness is an important first step toward building a stigma-free and supportive community. For World Mental Health Day, consider implementing hands-on activities and events for your patrons.

Invite Mental Health Professionals to the Library

Host a coffee hour or luncheon with a special-themed guest. Invite a mental health counselor, psychiatrist, or social worker in your community to lead a discussion. Encourage them to share what common misconceptions their clients often have and common everyday strategies they recommend for preserving mental health.

Create a Free Resource Kit

Speak with social workers and resource officers to develop a comprehensive guide to your community’s affordable mental health resources. Of course, include Gale Health and Wellness, but you might also list contact information for local counselors who accept sliding scale payments, suicide prevention hotlines, housing and food assistance, and provider search tools. Highlight providers in your area who are accepting new patients, and post your resource kit online.

Plan a Self-Care Workshop

Stress and anxiety are some of the more common mental health concerns Americans face. For World Mental Health Day, host a range of fun, relaxing self-care activities that inspire your patrons to build healthy mental health habits. Invite a local yoga or meditation instructor to lead a workshop. Plan a mental health awareness walk to motivate exercise. Have patrons complete a mental health awareness quiz. You could even raffle off a mental health-themed prize for participants such as a weighted blanket or a spa gift certificate.

Learn How to Respond to a Mental Health Crisis

You and your staff can get certified in mental health first aid. The course provides information on the prevalence and common symptoms of mental illness. Plus, participants learn valuable de-escalation strategies. Public libraries are open to everyone. Consequently, staff may engage frequently with individuals suffering from mental health disorders. Mental health first aid certification helps prepare your team to respond confidently in a supportive, safe, and empathetic way.

World Mental Health Day may fall on October 10, but advocating for mental health awareness all year round is essential. Gale Health and Wellness is a gateway and go-to tool for reliable health-related information. Plus, patrons can access the database 24/7 from their personal devices, making mental health resources more available.

If your library isn’t a subscriber, contact your local Gale representative to learn more. Until then, you can find additional World Mental Health Day information on the WHO campaign page. Explore these helpful tips from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for recommendations on discussing mental health. Finally, navigate to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a printable list of federal mental health resources.

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