Library Notes: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

By Libby Anderson

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults and one in six youths experience mental illness each year in the U.S., and only half receive treatment, whether due to a lack of awareness or options or because of fear of stigma. So much in our daily lives can affect our mental health. National organization Mental Health America notes that current violent events in our world, being constantly exposed to negative news, worrying about money, not having access to healthy food, lacking easy transportation or just not having time to relax can all take a toll on our mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 by Mental Health America, and it has been observed each May in the U.S. ever since. The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce mental illness stigma and share strategies for mental wellness. Green ribbons or green clothing can be worn throughout the month to show support.

Rowan Public Library has many resources for those who want to learn more about mental health. We have several books available, such as “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking” by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  Dr. Leaf shares a five-step research-based plan for improving your mental health. If you are interested in mindfulness and meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress, you might want to check out “Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday” by Matthew Sockolov. Teens might want to check out “Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health” by Melanie Siebert. This book shares real-life stories of teens who have experienced mental illness and discusses past and current treatments for mental illness, including current research on the effects of trauma and social inequality on mental health.

Other suggestions from Mental Health America to reduce stress and improve mental health include learning something new, trying a new craft or activity, participating in community activities with others who have similar interests or volunteering. Rowan Public Library has plenty of opportunities available throughout the year for these types of activities and for socializing with others — Just check out our event calendar at, or call 980-432-8670.

Also, please note that NAMI offers a free HelpLine if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue and needs assistance. They can provide information, support and referrals. Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. You can also check out N.C.-specific health information and resources online at In an emergency, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can be reached by calling 988.

Remember, taking time for yourself is important for your mental health and wellness. We’d love to see you spend some of that time at Rowan Public Library! To find a book or information about mental health and wellness or to attend a library program, visit, call 980-432-8670, or check out any of our RPL branches.

Libby Anderson is a librarian at Rowan Public Library.

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