Challenge: this “Mental Health Awareness Month,” rather than focusing on a narrow and individualistic view of mental health, educate yourself on the effects of trauma, discrimination, and oppression on our mental health.

Instead of sharing posts from the major mental health organizations, boost individuals, organizations, and collectives run by people with lived experience, especially multiply marginalized individuals and communities routinely and violently excluded and erased from mental health spaces and services. Learn about their work. Support their causes and platforms. Donate to their organizations if you are in a position to do so.

Instead of furthering the predominance (or total dominance) of the medical model, educate yourself about neurodiversity, Mad Pride, radical mental health, psychiatric survivors, and other movements and communities that are routinely and violently excluded and erased from mental health spaces and services.

Instead of forcing person-first language and erasing those who don’t use it, get comfortable with people identifying as they like, whether it’s Mad, ill, crazy, neurodivergent, disabled, bipolar, mentally ill, no label, or a label you’ve never encountered before. Acknowledge any harm you’ve caused to people you’ve excluded from your spaces in the past. Make changes to do better in the future.

Instead of doing the same every year, work to become more aware of the ways you might perpetuate racism, sanism, ableism, transphobia, heterosexism, fatphobia, and other forms of oppression in mental health campaigns, in mental health spaces, and in your daily life. Make changes to do better today.

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