Our Navajo elders tell stories of how to live a beautiful and fulfilled life through mental preparedness, starting from childhood. It was known that we would face many challenges but it was also known that if we prepared out minds at an early age, we can be mentally fit throughout our lives. Mental fitness begins with getting up early in the morning with prayer and exercise as our mental health coincides with our physical and spiritual fitness. By implementing these activities into our daily routines we can prevent and fight future mental and behavioral health issues and continue to “walk in beauty.”

Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year. After a successful $4Mind4Body campaign in 2018, this theme was chosen again and expanded on for 2019 “with a set of new resources that are best characterized as essential parts of everyone’s recovery toolkit.”

Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses, according to the ADAA. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. The month came about by proclamation in 2013 by president Obama.