May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

It’s in the nature of humans to solve problems and try to overcome the challenges that inevitably present themselves. Part of our survival mechanism requires that we strive rather than succumb, whenever possible. But what if there are barriers that prevent us from dealing with a particular setback or challenge?

One of the barriers we grapple with at Fairwinds—Nantucket’s Counseling Center is the stigma and shame that surround mental health disorders, keeping people from getting help. Mental illness is treatable, just like cancer, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Sometimes a mental health diagnosis is a chronic condition that can be managed and sometimes it is acute, and can be treated and resolved.

Imagine if heart disease was stigmatized as something shameful, a character flaw, or a sign of weakness, so that no one sought medical care for something completely treatable. The ripple effects of an untreated mental health disorder are just as profound as untreated heart disease might be.

  • Reduced quality of life
  • Difficulty with self-care, employment, daily living
  • Possible death

Not only that, the financial costs of an untreated condition—whether mental or physical illness—are profound. According to NAMI, “Untreated mental illness costs the nation $113 billion annually” and harms the economy due to lost productivity.

Fairwinds’ mission to provide mental health and recovery treatment to everyone, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status is matched by our commitment to reaching past stigma, shame, ignorance, and social isolation to those who need our professional support.

Even though May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we consider every day and week and month of every year to be worthy of raising awareness of the challenges to mental health that so many people face here on Nantucket—and everywhere. The wonderful reality is that mental health disorders are treatable and that no one has to suffer alone or uncared for. We are committed to continuing to spread the message that mental health is health.


Everyone can help bring awareness to mental health and chip away at stigma. Here are some ways to do that:  

  • Share your story – Talk to your friends and coworkers about your own mental health journey. In whatever way is comfortable for you – in private conversation, on social media, on the sidelines of your child’s soccer game, or wherever and however makes sense for you. Talking about it empowers others to do the same.
  • Normalize help-seeking – Have you been in therapy? Do you see a counselor? Talk about it! Your journey will inspire others to get the help they need.
  • Offer a listening ear – It’s normal to share our struggles with caring others – job loss, a death in the family, an upcoming surgery. Talking about our challenges eases the stress and a compassionate friend can help. If you suspect someone you know is dealing with a mental health challenge, ask if they want to talk about it.


We hope anyone reading this will consider how to honor Mental Health Awareness Month. And remember, if you or someone you love could benefit from help, call or text Fairwinds at 508-228-2689.