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The month of October carries different meanings for everyone. For some, the spooky thrills consume their weeks as they prepare for the best Halloween costume. For others, breast cancer awareness walks and fundraisers are the focus. Across the globe, moreover, October is dedicated to bringing attention to the importance of mental health.

Sunday, Oct. 10, was World Mental Health Day according to the World Health Organization. More broadly, October is recognized as the month for depression awareness, mental health screening advocacy, OCD awareness and general health education awareness.

Pre-pandemic, seeking mental health help already had obstacles for most Americans. Whether cost, time or stigma-related hesitancy, mental illness is a challenge for many to treat. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these obstacles have intensified with financial resources strained and in-person medical help difficult to achieve in quick time.

These challenges make the need for awareness and advocacy even greater. At ITM, we are proud to offer flexible services to anyone in need. While our team strives to provide help to our patients, we can’t do this alone. From top government officials to conversations between our friends, the conversation surrounding mental health has to keep changing. It isn’t enough to be knowledgeable about resources available. Our society must work toward ridding itself of the negative stigma associated with seeking help. This stigma is reflected in more than just personal viewpoints, but also in the difficulties getting mental health services covered in insurance, or jobs being critical of a person’s time in a facility.

This October let’s strive to do better for ourselves and our neighbors in the effort to bring mental health awareness.