Welcome to the first issue of Mental Health Awarenews! My aim is to briefly highlight people and activities raising awareness each week. I personally skim moreso than I read, so I’m writing this the same way—short and skimmable.

Stats and Surveys

People in the workforce are over 3x more likely to report poor mental health now than before the pandemic per a new survey.

Nineteen percent of high school youth have said that they have seriously considered suicide (CDC).

Music Releases

Demi Levato & Marshmello released a new song and video called OK Not To Be OK. The song is much more upbeat and positive than her relapse song Sober, which struck a deep chord with me as a recovering addict.

Beck, Phoebe Bridgers, and others played their favorite Daniel Johnston songs a year after his death. The singer/songwriter was open about his struggle with bipolar disorder, chronicled in the acclaimed 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

Celebrity Advocacy

Dak Prescott, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, courageously spoke about his battle with depression. A sports commentator called it a sign of weakness and drew widespread criticism, which I took as a sign that mental health stigma is declining.

World Suicide Prevention Day

Sep 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day. Governments, people, and organizations raised awareness and offered tips. A few trends I noticed.

  • Many advocates pointed out that asking a friend if they are having suicidal thoughts won’t put the idea in their head or increase their risk.
  • A lot of walks were cancelled due to the pandemic, replaced by virtual events. One advocacy organization held a drive through event featuring a local band.
  • While a lot of mental health hotlines and chat lines reported increased traffic, leaders were quick to point out the upside—it means people are reaching out.

Organization of the Week

I love the Veteran’s Crisis Line’s Be There campaign which encourages people who are worried about a loved one to reach out with a call, a text, an invitation—something simple. Suicide prevention isn’t all about having hard conversations. It can also be about having easy ones.