May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month Banner 2022

May is Mental Health Month

Tools to Help Bring Us Back to the Basic Discussion About Mental Health & Wellness

This last year has been challenging, to say the least. From the ongoing pandemic to the continuing injustices of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of systemic oppression, it can be hard to get through the day without something in the news cycle feeling really difficult. And of course, what some people read about in the news, other people experience in real life.

We know that around half of all people in the U.S. will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their lives. We also know that communities who are targeted by racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and other forms of systemic oppression and violence can face an even heavier mental health burden because of these harms.

For this year’s Mental Health Month, North Central Health Care is sharing Mental Health America's annual toolkit, which is going back to basics. Because no matter how heavy and hard the world feels – and maybe especially because the world feels quite challenging right now – focusing on our mental health must remain a priority.

So we kept it simple. The toolkit provides free, practical resources to introduce mental health topics like recognizing warning signs, knowing the factors that can lead to mental health conditions, maintaining mental wellness, and seeking help for mental health.

Creating a world where everyone can get the mental health care they need and where everyone can thrive is imperative – and within our reach. We have already seen once-unthinkable leaps and bounds in how our society addresses mental health, and this toolkit empowers us to push the conversation – and the real, tangible resources for people who need them – forward.

The other part of this work is you – the readers of this toolkit and our mission to make mental health supports and services available and accessible to everyone who needs them. Thank you for all you’re doing, day in and day out, to make it so everyone has the care and resources they need, no matter who they are or where they are from. It is making a real difference. Thank you for being a part of this work.

Take a Mental Health Screening Test

Online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible.

Visit Mental Health America's website for FREE Screening Tools for depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder and many, many more at

Mental Health Month Toolkit

This year’s #MentalHealthMonth explores the basics about #mentalhealth to help us all understand and talk about mental health, when to seek help and where to go to get that help.

Download the FULL 2022 TOOLKIT here or read, download and share the individual fact sheets below!

STARTING TO THINK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH Mental health refers to our emotional and social well-being and impacts how we think, feel, and behave. It plays a role in connecting with others, making decisions, handling stress, and many other aspects of daily life. Everyone has mental health, and it deserves your attention just as much as your physical health does.

WHAT PLAYS A ROLE IN DEVELOPING MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS? Most mental health conditions don’t have a single cause – they have many possible causes, called risk factors. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop a mental health condition in your lifetime. Mental health conditions can develop slowly, or symptoms can start to appear more suddenly after you’ve experienced a stressful event or big change.

MAINTAINING GOOD MENTAL HEALTH Whether you realize it or not, mental health plays a big role in your overall well-being. When you’re mentally healthy, you are able to enjoy your life and the people in it, feel good about yourself, keep up good relationships, and deal with stress. It’s normal for your mental health to shift over time – we all face difficult situations in our lives. Creating positive habits is a great way to support your mental health when you’re doing well and helps you build skills to use if you do face symptoms of a mental health condition.

RECOGNIZING WHEN YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH Think about your physical health. We all have days where we feel a bit sore, have a headache, or are extra tired. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sick. You’re sick when something suddenly and significantly changes for the worse or prevents you from functioning properly. Mental health is similar – the occasional bad day is to be expected, but when things that used to be easy become a lot more difficult, something’s going on. Instead of focusing on physical symptoms, you’ll want to look at your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU NEED HELP When living with a mental health condition or facing a mental health concern, it’s common to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. But many people overcome the mental health challenges they face. You aren’t alone – help is out there, and recovery is possible.

WHERE TO GO When you’ve decided to seek help, knowing what resources are available and where to start can be tricky. Use this decision map to help you figure out your options. If you don’t find help where a path ends, try any of the resources in the gold boxes.

TERMS TO KNOW If you’re thinking about addressing your mental health for the first time, you may come across words that seem simple but you aren’t exactly sure what they mean. Below is a list of terms used throughout the 2022 “Back to Basics” Mental Health Month Toolkit.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call:

- 911

- For residents in Marathon, Lincoln and Langlade Counties in WI, call the North Central Health Care Crisis Hotline 715.845.4326 or 800.799.0122

- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517).

For more Covid-19 related mental health information and resources, please visit our Mental Health & Covid-19.

Looking for more resources?

Download the 2021 TOOLKIT also or read the individual topics below.

Adapting After Trauma and Stress We all face trauma, adversity, and other stresses throughout our lives. When people think of trauma, they often think of things like abuse, terrorism, or catastrophic events (big ‘T’ trauma). Trauma can also be caused by events that may be less obvious but can still overwhelm your capacity to cope, like frequent arguing at home or losing your job (little ‘t’ trauma). Trauma of any kind can be hard on your mental health but working on becoming more resilient can help you feel more at ease.

Accepting Reality Sometimes in life we end up in situations that we just can’t change. Radical acceptance is all about fully accepting your reality in situations that are beyond your control. This doesn’t mean you approve of the situation, are giving up, or that it isn’t painful. You are still allowed to (and should!) feel however you feel, but by accepting that it is what it is, you give the problem less power over you and you can begin to move forward.

Dealing with Anger and Frustration In challenging times, you may find that you have little patience with other people or get upset over minor things. Anger and frustration are complicated emotions that often stem from other feelings, like disappointment, fear, and stress. Taking some extra steps to decrease your overall tension can prevent your feelings (and the reactions that they cause) from spiraling out of control.

Getting Out of Thinking Traps It’s easy to fall into negative thinking patterns and spend time bullying yourself, dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. It’s part of how we’re wired – the human brain reacts more intensely to negative events than to positive ones and is more likely to remember insults than praise. During tough times, negative thoughts are especially likely to spiral out of control. When these thoughts make something out to be worse in your head than it is in reality, they are called cognitive distortions.

Processing Big Changes Change is a guaranteed part of life. It’s something everyone experiences at one point or another — good or bad. Sometimes that change happens in big ways when we aren’t expecting it or aren’t prepared for it. These types of situations can make navigating your path forward really difficult. By providing yourself with tools for processing change, you can adapt more easily.

Taking Time for Yourself There are always a handful of roles that each of us are juggling. If you are a parent, a student, an employee, a caretaker, someone struggling with a mental health concern, or are just feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of day-to-day life, the idea of taking time for yourself may seem unimaginable. Sometimes it can be dicult to even take basic care of ourselves - but there are small things that can be done to make self-care and taking time for ourselves a little bit easier.

Download the 2020 TOOLKIT also or read the individual topics below.

Owning Your Feelings It can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. Learn some great tips for success.

Finding the Positive After Loss At some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through a grieving process. By looking for opportunity in adversity or finding ways to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, we can help ourselves to recover mentally and emotionally. Learn more about tips for getting by.

Connecting with Others It’s possible to be surrounded by people and still feel alone. It’s the connections we make with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to make those connections. Learn some useful tips for connecting.

Eliminating Toxic Influences Certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel badly about ourselves or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create boundaries or a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time. Learn about Traits of toxic people.

Creating Healthy Routines Work, paying bills, cleaning, cooking, shopping, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things millions of Americans do each day and it is easy to be overwhelmed. It can feel impossible to get everything done, let alone take care of yourself – especially if you’re already struggling with a mental health concern like depression or anxiety. By creating routines, we organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them. Learn abut tips for success.

Supporting Others While 1 in 5 people will experience a diagnosable mental health condition in their lives, 5 out of 5 people will go through a challenging time that aspects their mental health. There are simple things that every person can say or do to help the people in their life who are struggling to get through the tough times. Learn how you can be helpful.

Helping You Find: