Mental Health Action Day

The Time to Take Action on Mental Health Is Now

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5 min. read

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the mental health of millions around the world. While raising awareness remains essential to starting your path towards mental wellbeing, it’s important to remember it’s only the beginning. Action is needed to create solutions and the time to take action is now. That is why more than 600 businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and cultural leaders have teamed up for the first-ever Mental Health Action Day on Thursday, May 20.

The need to draw attention to action is clear and hundreds of companies and organizations have joined Mental Health Action Day, including Ben & Jerry’s, March for Our Lives, TikTok, the NBA, Therapy for Black Girls, and the YMCA. You can see the full list of partners here.

Rather than simply raising awareness, these partners are pledging to assist people to take actions in taking care of their mental health, whether it be for their own mental health or the mental health of a loved one. Many partners are also advocating for systemic changes, pledging to support the mental health of their communities by advocating for government resources during this time of unprecedented need, as well as much-needed policy changes.

“From Covid-19 to economic struggles and the continuing fight for racial justice, the other half of the twin pandemic is the rise of our mental health challenges,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy at MTV Entertainment Group. “This is a critical moment to shift our culture from mental health awareness to mental health action and MTV is proud to come together with diverse cross-sector leaders on this inaugural day to encourage and empower people to take action — for themselves, for their loved ones or for the systemic changes needed to improve our social and emotional wellbeing.”

The mental toll of the pandemic has especially affected communities of color and Gen Z, with rates of depression and anxiety rising steadily in both groups over the past year. Without the tools to properly take care of their mental health, millions will continue to struggle in isolation. For many people, the hardest part of their mental health journey is knowing where to begin, which is exactly why Mental Health Action Day was created.

“The gravity of loss, despair and uncertainty over the past year has taken a tragic toll on our physical and mental health,” said Stephen Massey, Managing Director of the Health Action Alliance. “As our country and our economy emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses can take decisive action to support the mental health of their employees, raise awareness and de-stigmatize mental health issues, and prioritize partnerships with public health organizations that provide mental health support to communities.”

“”MTV is proud to come together with diverse cross-sector leaders on this inaugural day to encourage and empower people to take action” – Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy at MTV Entertainment Group ”

Along with dealing with the stress compounded by the pandemic, Black Americans have also had to deal with the emotional distress caused by police shootings. Color of Change president Rashad Robinson pointed to the need for Black Americans to gain access to tools and resources to take mental health action.

“A major part of mental health is ensuring that those in power are creating a safe and equitable world for Black people by means such as divesting from racist policing, and investing in communities and mental health services, said Robinson. “Color of Change, alongside our millions of members, will continue to demand the physical and mental protection Black people need not only to survive, but become powerful in our communities, as the devastating effects of COVID-19 continue to disproportionately affect and threaten our livelihoods.”

In the midst of a year-long pandemic, as many have been left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, the time for action is now. Even with the vaccine rollout showing signs of the pandemic slowly coming to an end, the long-term mental health effects cannot be ignored. By equipping individuals with the proper resources, they can take an active role in maintaining and strengthening their mental health.

“Mental well-being and mental hygiene are the number one priority to help prevent extinction from human causes, such as, climate change, social and economic injustice, war and terrorism, the pandemic of suicide in teens and adults, and from the psycho-pathology of collective insanity that it is now assumed to be normal,” Deepak Chopra MD, Author and Founder of The Chopra Foundation, explained. “Mental Health Action Day supports the collective conversation creating emergent solutions for ALL.”

Join us on May 20 to begin taking mental health action. Whether it’s finding a therapist, joining a peer support group or simply checking in on yourself, it’s vital that we all begin making mental health action a priority in our lives.

Need help now?

If you’re struggling and need to talk to someone, you’re not alone. There are lots of free, confidential resources available 24/7.