Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. It was first started in the United States by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Each year in mid-March, MHA releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, MHA, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year. This year’s theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is similarly promoting mental health awareness with the theme of CureStigma. NAMI reports that “one in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.”
There are no specific mental health conditions or symptoms that guarantee a disability approval based upon a mental impairment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) views mental impairments in much the same way as they do physical impairments, meaning that SSA focuses on an individual’s functional capacity to work in spite of his or her limitations, rather than his or her specific impairments or diagnoses.
SSA’s Mental Health Listings: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®