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Mental Health Awareness Month: Recognize the Green Ribbon

2013, October 9 Jennifer Aline Graham

Everyone knows October as being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink is everywhere – in stores, on commercials, on Facebook and everywhere else imaginable. It’s great that awareness for this disease has been marketed so well. However, did you know that September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month? Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, National Down Syndrome month and, of course, Mental Health Awareness month?

It’s important to recognize all of the important pieces of a month and not get overwhelmed with one color.

I’m not trying to sound rude, but why not put the color green on commercials or on signs for a week? Just one week wouldn’t take away any awareness for Breast Cancer. Being a cancer survivor, I understand the importance in recognizing this disease. But shouldn’t all cancers be recognized all of the time?

Recognizing the Green Ribbon

However, we are talking right now about the green ribbon and that ribbon represents Mental Health Awareness. Since self-harm is intertwined with many mental illnesses, it is important support anyone struggling with any difficult situation. Maybe your roommate has intense anxiety because of upcoming tests. Do something with him or her to help them relax. If your cousin is struggling with Schizophrenia, remind them that you love them. Maybe one of your best friends has been burning their forearms. Sit down with them and talk.

Those are just some examples of ways to support the green ribbon during the month of October. Recently, I was told that students at one of the high schools I spoke to were using my novel, Noon, in some of their research papers. Since one of the characters struggles with suicide and cutting, I saw that as my way of spreading a little bit of awareness into their day without even trying.

However, there is always room to spread a little bit more love. Use social media to help others recognize the need to learn more about mental illness. Buy a book, such as Noon, and read more about self-harm. Tweet positive messages and quotes so that those stressed or upset can feel an ounce of hope.

Writing letters is also a helpful gesture. I’ve written in the past about Dear Letters. Dear Letters are letters that are written to let out any stress, anger or frustration you have towards someone. Typically, these letters are not sent out. However, you can flip-flop the activity and make it into a positive one. Write a letter to someone who is dealing with a mental illness and write about his or her strengths and successes. Write about how you will be there for them through their struggles if they need someone to talk to. If you are feeling up to it, send it out.

Do Something Brave and Beneficial

If you self-harm and are in an unsure place, be brave this month. Before the end of the month, schedule an appointment with a therapist. If you fear counselors, talk to a teacher you trust. If you’re really feeling brave, talk to a parent or a sibling and plan out a way to get better.

Of course, this is all easier said than done – believe me, I know.

Use this month to take a positive step forward and do something you will look back at and be happy you did. Find a new coping skill and stick with it. If you know someone else who self-harms, make a plan together and work on it. Sometimes, supporting those who are in the same boat as you can be more powerful than working on it alone.

Breathe deep, be proud and celebrate the green ribbon.

APA Reference
Graham, J. (2013, October 9). Mental Health Awareness Month: Recognize the Green Ribbon, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, May 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2013/10/mental-health-awareness-month-recognize-the-green-ribbon



Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

Lizzy McLaren
says:
March, 25 2019 at 9:05 am
i have suffered from sexual assault since the age of 8 my parents refuse to do anything to help me and I have been getting worse since my mom and step dad's divorce. My parents refuse to put me in therapy and to get me help what can I do?
May, 6 2019 at 9:19 pm
Hi Lizzy,

First of all, I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. I understand how shattering childhood sexual abuse can be, but it's never hopeless and you're never alone.

I don't know how old you are, but I assume you're still under the age of 18. The main thing for you to do -- and the hardest -- is to tell someone. Someone who will care and believe what you say. For some people that's their parents, but for a lot of people it's a trusted friend or teacher or other authority figure in their life.

And even if no one specific comes to mind, your safety comes first. This means telling someone anyway, preferably an adult who can take immediate action. Tell the police, if you have to. Or a school guidance counselor. There are even sexual assault hotlines you can call. Most people will surprise you with their depth of sympathy and willingness to help.

Your priority is to get out of whatever situation you're currently in with your abuser. Everything else will then eventually fall into place, including the therapy.

Best of luck,
Kayla
kim
says:
March, 16 2019 at 1:07 pm
what month is mental awareness month is it may/
K Kush
says:
March, 13 2019 at 12:54 pm
Why do some calendars say May is mental health awareness month?
Elvina
says:
June, 28 2018 at 3:06 am
Where can i get the green ribbon from
Dr Musli Ferati
says:
May, 7 2017 at 2:33 am
On the occasion of mental Health Awareness Month it is recommendation to incite and to stir up something useful on subsequent promotion and affirmation on mental health and its reflection on real social life. Your genuine experience with your serious illness and its overcoming indicate excellent example to dealing with mental disorders as invisible and frightening issues. In addition, when mental disorders are the most common health problems all around the world. Their innate neglect complicate and making heavy the comprehensive psychiatric treatment of mental disorders. So it is preferable to speak up and without any prejudices for the great negative outcomes of mental illnesses to personal and social welfare. Their stubborn marginilization in stead to soften the issues of mental pathology, it would more worsening the direct and indirect implications of mental health, respectively disorder. Therefore, it ought to doing something constructively and benevolent on cardinal demistification of any mental difficulty. Indeed, mental illnesses are real and daily health problems, which ones should be treated in time without any primitive social restrain, because their prompt and adequate psychiatric treatment give good results. This hopeful statement should be spread all over and permanently. In contrary, the bad and ireparable repercussions would be serious for global health. Atavistic disguise of mental disorders will give rise many problems and outcomes with steady and mutinous consequences.
Pamela Kiser
says:
May, 3 2017 at 4:06 pm
How can I get a copy of your book noon.

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