Taking action to help with mental health issues is important at Conversations to Remember. Many individuals, including senior citizens, experience challenges with mental health. Seniors may face issues like depression due to loneliness and cognitive decline from dementia. Through Conversations to Remember, seniors are able to participate in weekly virtual visits with student volunteers. This can lead to a positive impact on their mental health, such as by reducing feelings of loneliness and reminding the senior that there are people who care about them. Since Conversations to Remember works every day to make a difference when it comes to mental health, the organization is participating in Mental Health Action Day.
Mental Health Action Day began in 2021. It is a movement, initiated by MTV Entertainment Group, designed to shift mental health culture from awareness to action. “It just felt like there’s now enough mental health awareness and it’s time to really focus on action,” Angela Rose, the Program Director for Mental Health Action Day, said. The goal is to encourage people to take action to address mental health instead of only bringing awareness to it. This year, Mental Health Action Day is on Thursday, May 18th.
The focus of Mental Health Action Day this year is to take action for one hour, or for any amount of time that can be managed. “This year, we’re really leaning into those actions and so we rolled out a very specific call to action this year, which is dedicate one hour for yourself, your loved ones, or your community,” Rose said. “The one hour – it’s simple, it’s measurable, but it’s also flexible. I don’t want people to feel like they can’t participate if they don’t have a full hour.” Conversations to Remember shares this one hour philosophy and has students around the country volunteering for one hour per week to join a senior citizen on a video call. As noted by Eve Lefkowitz, Executive Director at Conversations to Remember, “This small amount of time provides huge mental health benefits for the seniors in our program. Many caregivers, and even some of the seniors themselves have reported to us that these video calls have helped relieve depression, inspired the seniors to also take part in other activities, and had a positive impact on their disposition”.
In addition, Mental Health Action Day is supported by partners in the Mental Health Action Network. Conversations to Remember is a partner in this network, which consists of over 1,750 nonprofits, government agencies, brands, and influential leaders from more than 32 countries. The Mental Health Action Network helps with bringing more awareness to Mental Health Action Day and encouraging others to take action. “By bringing on partners, that’s how we’re going to reach the general public and that’s how we’re going to reach people that maybe are not already thinking about their mental health,” Rose said.
Those involved in the Mental Health Action Network take different actions for Mental Health Action Day. Last year, Conversations to Remember hosted a webinar about connecting with those who have dementia. Eve Lefkowitz, the Executive Director of Conversations to Remember, spoke with dementia experts Torie N. Pendleton, Dr. Krystal L. Culler, and Christopher Doran. In the webinar, these experts explained what dementia is and provided valuable information about how to connect with those who have it. Caregivers and those who have family members with dementia may be particularly interested in this webinar. The webinar can be viewed here on the Conversations to Remember website.
This year for Mental Health Action Day, Conversations to Remember is hosting a fundraising campaign. With support from this campaign, Conversations to Remember will continue to help senior citizens with their mental health through weekly virtual visits with student volunteers. Around 20 percent of people aged 55 or older experience some kind of mental health concern, such as anxiety, mood disorders, or severe cognitive impairment. Supporting Conversations to Remember will help make a positive impact on senior citizens and their mental health.
By taking action, changes can be made that will benefit those who experience mental health issues. It is important to not just bring awareness to mental health, but to take those actions as well. “Now, we’re very aware. Everyone has mental health,” Rose said. “Now what’s next is taking action.”
To learn more about Mental Health Action Day, visit https://www.mentalhealthaction.network/. To make a donation to Conversations to Remember’s 2023 Mental Health Action Day fundraising campaign, click here.
CDC. (n.d.). The State of Mental Health and Aging in America. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health.pdf.
Mental Health Action Day. (n.d.). https://www.mentalhealthaction.network/