May is Mental Health Awareness Month

On April 30, 2013, the White House released a presidential proclamation deeming May National mental health Awareness Month. Creating this month of awareness allows for initiatives that will help lead the tens of millions of Americans living with mental health problems to seek treatment and help.

The President hopes to build a conversation for this suffering from a mental health condition, and to help remove the shame and stigma too often associated with mental health issues. Dr. Larry Schonfeld, Interim Director of the Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS), says that he sees research making a positive impact on patient treatment.

"FMHI has always been at the forefront of developing interventions that are evidence-based," says Schonfeld. "Often we've had the chance to develop the programming here on-site, or with our community partners."

FMHI and the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy (MHLP) conduct research year-round on mental healthcare and substance abuse treatments and interventions to better-inform practices across Florida and the nation.

"I don't know if we're saving the world, but we're certainly making an influence on better quality care, more efficient care, and hopefully – as time progresses – lower-cost care."

Dr. Catherine Batsche, Associate Dean of CBCS, reminds us that sometimes the best way to help yourself or someone suffering from a mental health problem is to listen and know the warning signs when treatment is needed.

This practice, called Mental Health First Aid, is becoming an integral part of programs here in CBCS. Check out our short video on Mental Health First Aid, and the warning signs of mental health problems.