May is Mental Health Awareness Month - a concentrated, national effort by mental health nonprofit organizations, including the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, to reach out to the public, media and supporters to encourage them to speak out openly about mental health issues. During the month of May, the Foundation will use scientific discoveries showing the biological underpinnings of mental illness to debunk myths suggesting brain and behavior disorders are not bona fide illnesses. These myths—and the stigma they create—often keep people from getting the help they need to lead full, productive and happy lives.
The Foundation’s theme and slogan for the month is “Know Science. No Stigma.” The Twitter hash tag for the effort is #4BrainResearch. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD) has raised nearly $300 million in private funds since 1987 and invested it into more than 4,000 research grants to better understand the causes and develop better treatments for a broad range of mental illnesses. Throughout the month the Foundation will feature images, messages, facts, videos and statistics related to mental illness research and stories of recovery. Everyone is encouraged to share these images and facts through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels and be a part of this awareness initiative. Much of the information to be shared is drawn from research studies funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Grants, made possible through private contributions from the general public – 100% of contributions for research are invested in Foundation NARSAD Grants.
The first message for the awareness effort features a quote by Eric R. Kandel, M.D., a Nobel Prizewinner, Foundation Scientific Council Member and NARSAD Grantee who said: “All mental processes are brain processes, and therefore all disorders of mental functioning are biological diseases…Schizophrenia is a disease like pneumonia. Seeing it as a brain disorder de-stigmatizes it immediately.”
By speaking up about brain disorders as illnesses to be treated, we will progress on the road toward conquering mental illness. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to that and invites the public to join the cause.