Each May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, an initiative focused on raising awareness about mental health, fighting stigma, and providing support.
And it has just gone by leaving an important message behind – mental health is one of the most important aspects of our lives, and it should be treated as such.
However, the state of our mental health is treated as secondary to physical health, and its significance is too often diminished in favor of other health concerns we deem more important. Unfortunately, this habit leaves the door open for various mental health issues to enter our lives as silent intruders we seldom notice.
Perficient and our colleagues know the importance of self-care, and we offer programs like our LiveWell@Perficient wellness resource to help colleagues prioritize their mental health. During Mental Health Awareness Month, we went a step further to bring this topic to the front lines.
For this reason, the Perficient Giving ERG organized a panel called “Let’s Reduce Stigma Around Depression, Anxiety & ADHD” to encourage open dialog about common mental health issues and practices that can improve mental well-being and self-care. The event featured three powerful panelists: Perficient colleagues Lysa Young-Bates, senior marketing manager aligned to healthcare and life sciences, Destany Fitzgerald, senior technical consultant, and Jesse Brown, a guest from Perficient community partner NAMI.
READ MORE: Perficient Colleagues Get to Know NAMI
The panelists provided an insightful presentation about common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. The knowledge and insight the panelists shared clarified many common misconceptions which in turn helped us understand why reducing stigma around mental health is so important.
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And I must say, the following statistics for the US population Jesse laid on the table made me stop and think:
- One out of five adults experience a mental health condition in any given year
- Anxiety affects 19% of the population
- Depression affects 8% of the population who had at least one major episode in the last year
- ADHD affects more than 8 million adults, or up to 5% of the population
While the statistics paint a grim picture, there are a variety of resources available and a strong community of both professionals and advocates dedicated to providing support. Throughout the presentation, the comments section was active with Perficient colleagues sharing their own experiences with mental health, offering words or advice, and further creating a community of support.
During the event, colleagues were also asked to share what terms they associate with mental wellness, and they delivered a wonderful display underscoring the importance of mental health, well-being, and work-life balance:
In addition to hosting our event with NAMI, colleagues also took to our Giving ERG Teams channel throughout Mental Health Awareness Month to share what activities help them focus on their well-being. Here’s a small sample of the recommendations that colleagues offered:
- “I care for my mental health by setting healthy boundaries for myself, spending time each day without screens, and snuggling with my animals as much as possible!” – Sydney Luter, sales insights manager
- “Fresh air! Also, spending time in my garden, working out, putting down my phone.” – Liz Drazen, marketing director
- “Taking vacation time! I just got back from my first vacation in over a decade.” – Eric Garcia, senior technical consultant
- “Spending time with my baby dog, making time to be with my family and friends” – Alejandra Esquivel, senior HCM manager
- “Running- helps with my mental health as well as therapy. I think different ways to handle stress and coping mechanisms would be beneficial to all.” – Katie Burwell, senior talent acquisition specialist
Mental health is an important aspect of our overall health. Now that Mental Health Awareness Month has concluded, let’s agree to prioritize our mental health every day of the year and not just during the month of May. Creating a goal, setting healthy boundaries, and starting a new hobby are all great starting points.
NAMI also offers several support and education programs for anyone impacted by mental health conditions. To find mental health education, support groups, the NAMI HelpLine and more, check out NAMI’s Support and Education page. To get started, learn about the variety of programs offered by NAMI in your area by finding your local NAMI Affiliate here.
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