When it comes to conversations on mental health, our culture is still fairly silent. The stigmatization of mental illness in our country creates an environment where talking about mental health is taboo and, in turn, not seen as a priority. One of the biggest ways to help fight mental health stigma is by understanding its scope, looking especially at the research and resources provided by organizations dedicated to mental health. Supporting these organizations during Mental Health Awareness Month, which is in May every year, is all well and good — but supporting them year round is even better.
If there was a health issue that affected more than 80 percent of the population at least once in their lifetime, you’d probably want to know, right? According to a recent study, more than eight in 10 people experience at least one episode of mental illness in their lifetime. Conversations about mental health should be a priority to everyone as, statistically, pretty much everyone will be impacted by mental illness at some point in their life. Whether you know someone who’s experienced mental health issues or you’ve experienced them yourself, there are steps we can start to take as a society to end the stigma once and for all.
Want to help support mental health right now, from the comfort of your own internet? Here are 11 organizations you can support, during Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond, who are already doing the work to fight the stigma and support healthy conversations on mental health.
1National Alliance for Mental Illness
The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) is the largest mental health organization in the United States. Through programs that promote education, advocacy, and support for people who experience mental illness, NAMI works to help the one in five people in the United States living with mental illness every year. Their 24/7 crisis helplines are dedicated to suicide prevention, as well as support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They’re also working to promote public policy that supports mental health through legislation. Last year, they got over 230,000 signatures on petitions to senate leaders. You can donate to NAMI here.
Trans Lifeline’s mission is “to end transgender suicide and improve overall mental health of transgender people through education, advocacy, and direct service.” Trans people are at a significantly higher risk for attempting suicide and other mental health issues. In addition to their 24/7 crisis helpline, Trans Lifeline works to empower trans people and support mental health through education and advocacy programs. You can donate to Trans Lifeline here or find out other ways you can support Trans Lifeline here, like becoming a volunteer lifeline operator.
RAD Remedy works to connect people who are trans, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer to safe and respectful health care providers. The tenuous history between the medical community and LGBTQ people seeking care still makes it difficult for everyone to find a health care provider they trust. While still in beta testing, RAD Remedy functions as a search engine, providing a network of safe, trustworthy health care professionals. Donate to RAD Remedy here and find out other ways you can support RAD Remedy here.
4The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youth. In addition to their 24/7 crisis line, The Trevor Project provides education and resources for kids who may not otherwise find the support they need. Find out how you can volunteer locally with The Trevor Project here or support The Trevor Project through donation here.
5To Write Love On Her Arms
You matter. Your pain matters. Your joy matters. Your love matters.— TWLOHA (@TWLOHA) May 4, 2017
To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nonprofit movement with the mission to present hope and find help for people who are struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction, and suicide. TWLOHA started with a story and has evolved into a movement empowering and supporting people who are at their most vulnerable. You can get involved with TWLOHA here or donate here to help fight the stigma and provide people the support and treatment they need.
You may have seen the impact of Project Semicolon through stories about people getting tattoos of semicolons to symbolize their mental health journeys. The message of Project Semicolon is simple, “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.” Though the message is simple, the movement and its impact are significant. Since 2013, Project Semicolon has saved the lives of over 5.2 million people through awareness, education, and support. Donate to Project Semicolon here.
7This Is My Brave
This Is My Brave is working to end mental health stigma through storytelling. The organization empowers people to share their own stories about living with mental illness through creative work, like poetry and music. As their mission page states, This Is My Brave believes that “one day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it “brave” when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.” You can support This Is My Brave through Amazon Smile, where a portion of every Amazon purchase you make goes to the organization. You can also donate directly here.
8Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRFoundation) is working to support mental health by awarding grants for scientific research, helping to discover better treatment and encourage better education about mental illness. 100 percent of your donation goes to scientists working in the field of mental health. You can support BBRFoundation through donation here.
9Treatment Advocacy Center
Mental illness is on the rise but access to care keeps dwindling https://t.co/mxhql8cnCq— TreatmentAdvocacyCtr (@TreatmentAdvCtr) April 24, 2017
Treatment Advocacy Center is helping to eliminate barriers when it comes to people receiving the mental health treatment they need. Treatment Advocacy Center specifically supports people with severe mental illness, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Through things like public policy and legislation, Treatment Advocacy Center is helping destigmatize mental health and making sure everyone is getting the support and care they need. You can donate to Treatment Advocacy Center here.
10American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is saving lives by funding scientific research and providing resources that support suicide prevention. Through education and awareness, AFSP is working to destigmatize conversations on suicide, helping to create a healthier conversation surrounding mental health. You can donate to AFSP here.
11Mental Health America
Mental Health America is one of the country’s leading community-based organizations dedicated to supporting people with mental illness and promoting mental health nationally. Through political advocacy at the state, local, and federal levels, Mental Health America is helping enact legislation that prioritizes mental health. They also work to support people with mental illness through education and resources programs, like mental health screenings. Support Mental Health America through donation here.