Reflections on Mental Health Awareness Month ’22 from the Blue Dove Team

Image of founder, Justin Milrad, smiling
Justin Milrad, President & Co-Founder

Mental health and growth are not a linear journey.  It’s ok to be a human and not a superhero.

Image of blonde woman smiling.
Gabby Spatt, Founding Executive Director

The past few years have taken a toll on all of us, but some more than others. It’s incredible to see how the community has come together to support those who need our help. Thank you from the Blue Dove Foundation!

Sheri Panovka, Communications Director

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, I think about my friends’ son who died by suicide a few weeks ago. He was 16. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and my heart aches for my friends. This most awful of tragedies continuously haunts me. It’s impossible to imagine that someone who is 16—who has his whole life in front of him—could be in so much pain that he chooses to make such an irreversible decision.

If you research the statistics, you’ll see the suicide rate overall—after increasing in the last decade—is down. But suicide and suicide attempts are up among our youth. Although people of all ages are experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses (which includes addiction), the numbers are alarmingly high among our children. While none of this is new, COVID has exacerbated the problem. Yet it also has brought it to the forefront. Mental illness and addiction are finally receiving the attention they deserve. The shame and stigma are going away, and more people are talking about mental health.

So here’s my message: Please, please, please — if you need help, or if you know someone who does, get it. Make a phone call. Talk to someone. Do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. If you are thinking about ending your life, or if you fear someone else is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

One more thing: No matter how lonely you feel, no matter how bad things might seem, everyone goes through hard times. You are not alone.

Woman smiling in front of gray wall.
Jennifer GreenBerg Co-President & Marketing

The negative results of mental health impact more than just individuals. It affects families and entire communities. Mental Health Awareness Month shines a light on the importance if checking in on ourselves and our loved ones. One simple kindness can save a life, save a family, and ultimately save the world. I’m so proud of the Blue Dove Foundation’s initiatives to spark these important conversations and provide direction to those who need help.

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Jaime Glazerman, LCP, Education Consultant

One of the things that has come to my attention this month is the real need for a common language/vocabulary around mental health and what commonly used terms mean. I think we need to be more explicit about what we mean when we say things like support, and resources, and even using the term mental health itself. I think if we do so it will make it much easier for people to find their way to exactly what they need and are looking for.

Image of woman smiling in front of brick wall.
Carly Coons, LSW, Education Consultant

As we near the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, I can’t help but feel an immense sense of gratitude. How wonderful that in the chaos of our world, we have taken the time to connect with others and continue to learn about mental health in order to support our community.

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Max Hollander, Marketing Manager

Mental health and wellness are often treated as privileges rather than essentials. Hopefully, after this month, we have all learned the necessity of mental wellness for healthy and happy lives, and to Guard yourself and guard your soul very carefully. (Deuteronomy 4:19)

Image of young woman smiling.
Adina Peck, Blue Dove intern

This month, I’ve reflected on what I am doing to care for myself and have noticed that my actions (or lack thereof) occasionally reflect an internalization of mental health stigma. With regard to mental and physical health challenges, one’s power – strength and reclamation of self – exists in the healing process. It’s important we forgive ourselves for ways we might have neglected our wellbeing and recognize that in each moment we have the ability to work towards the vision of our best, healthiest selves, actively choosing to repair what needs mending and practice what needs growth. 

Young woman smiling
Rachel Cohn, Blue Dove intern
Just because mental health awareness month is almost over doesn’t mean the suffering of millions is over, so as May ends, the open and supportive conversations about mental health cannot”.

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