Lifting the Veil of Secrecy Surrounding Mental Illness

paws veronica may illustration

Since 1949, the month of May has been recognized in the United States as Mental Health Awareness Month, in an ongoing effort to educate the public and eliminate stereotypes surrounding mental illness. The 2016 theme – “Life with a Mental Illness” – is intended to lift the veil of secrecy and insecurity that often prevents people from seeking out help.

“We can’t be afraid to talk about mental health issues,” said Dr. Eric Klein, Associate Dean of Ashford University’s College of Liberal Arts and a licensed clinical psychologist. “Sadly, many Americans don’t seek help, don’t seek treatment, often because they feel embarrassed.”

The organization Mental Health America and its affiliates are hoping those who suffer from mental illness will not be ashamed, and, in fact, be willing to share their stories with the world on social media using the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike in May. Those stories will be displayed on the Mental Health America website.

In this month’s video, Promoting Awareness and Wellness in Students (P.A.W.s.) takes a closer look at how the Ashford University community is combating mental illness stereotypes, and the steps that we can all take to create a culture of compassion.

Written by Ashford University staff.

Illustration by Veronica May. Playing music since 1985, living with Bipolar 1 Disorder since 2008, traveling to educate on the facts and fictions of mental illness, and tying it all together in her memoir, Open Book, Veronica May's mission is to spread her message of triumph and trial through written, spoken, and sung word. Her multi-modal approach including first-hand stories, original songs, and art, awaken the mind, stir the heart, and open the eyes to the wild world of thought and perception.

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