May 5, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month; Mental Health America continues 'Tools 2 Thrive' theme

Since 1949, May has been recognized annually as Mental Health Awareness Month to raise awareness and celebrate mental health. Although one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can affect their mental health.

“During the past year, we at Mental Health America have witnessed an unprecedented increase in the numbers of people experiencing mental health problems,” says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA. “Nearly 3 million people have taken MHA mental health screening during the past 12 months. A million were experiencing depression and hundreds of thousands more were experiencing either anxiety or psychosis.”

In 2021, Mental Health America continues with its Tools 2 Thrive theme for Mental Health Awareness Month. Tools 2 Thrive “provides practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation.”

The global pandemic forced individuals and families to cope with situations never imagined, and many struggled with their mental health as a result. Now more than ever, it’s important to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Awareness Month, Purdue is highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency and continue to cope with the obstacles created by COVID-19.

The Tools 2 Thrive theme provides individuals with information and coping strategies around common struggles that affect mental health. Six topics are highlighted for 2021:    

Adapting after trauma and stress
People who have been through trauma are three times more likely to experience depression. Trauma of any kind can be hard on a person’s mental health, but working on becoming more resilient could help them feel more at ease. With #Tools2Thrive, individuals have practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency. The Processing Trauma and Stress worksheet is available to help work through this process.

Processing the big changes
Processing big changes can be difficult. By providing themselves with #Tools2Thrive for processing change, people can adapt more easily. The Dealing With Change worksheet is available to use.

Getting out of thinking traps
During tough times, negative thoughts can spiral out of control. Learning to cope with these thoughts through #Tools2Thrive can train the brain to think differently and improve overall mental health and well-being. See the Dealing with the Worst-Case Scenario worksheet.

Radical acceptance
Radical acceptance is about an individual fully accepting their reality in situations that are beyond their control. It’s a difficult skill to learn, but using #Tools2Thrive can help individuals practice radical acceptance to start the processing of moving forward. The Practicing Radical Acceptance worksheet could help to learn and strengthen this skill. 

Taking time for yourself
Taking time for yourself may seem unimaginable, but there are small things to make self-care a little easier. Using #Tools2Thrive in everyday life can help individuals practice self-compassion in practical ways to take care of their mental health and well-being. The Prioritizing Self-Care worksheet is available.  

Dealing with anger and frustration
Anger and frustration are complicated emotions that can stem from disappointment, fear and stress. Taking steps to decrease overall tension with #Tools2Thrive can prevent feelings from spiraling out of control. The Managing Frustration and Anger worksheet is available to use.

“Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being,” says Candace Shaffer, senior director of benefits in Human Resources. “As we continue to bring overall health and wellness resources and tools to the University via our Healthy Boiler Program, we focus on five main areas of overall wellness, including behavioral health. During Mental Health Month and year-round, Purdue University wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real and recovery is possible. We hope the tools and resources we continue to share with the Purdue community help individuals navigate any challenges or concerns related to their mental health and well-being.”

There are actions individuals can take this month, including:

Resources available for employees, dependents, students 

In an effort to help Purdue employees manage stress, anxiety and more, a list of tools and resources has been compiled; see the “Behavioral health plays a key role in overall well-being” email sent from Human Resources, which highlights resources for employees, dependents and students.

Additionally, the Mental Health Resources webpage offers a variety of available resources.

Purdue health plan coverage

As a reminder, information on how the Purdue health plan supports behavioral health care, see the following:


Any questions regarding benefits coverage and/or mental health resources available to faculty, staff and dependents, can be directed to Human Resources at, HRHelp (secure email) or by phone at 765-494-2222 and toll-free at 877-725-0222. 

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