Mental Health Matters: May’s Efforts to Educate and Empower

by Kashley Jones, FNP-C

Certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 



“Mental Health Matters: May’s Efforts to Educate and Empower”

As a provider deeply invested in the well-being of my patients and community, I’m acutely aware of the prevalence and impact of mental health conditions, particularly depression. For me, a tragedy that struck close to home ignited my passionate commitment to mental health advocacy and support. With May marking Mental Health Month, it’s crucial to delve into the statistics surrounding depression and explore how this month’s efforts are vital in educating and empowering individuals facing this challenging condition.

Understanding the Statistics:

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders globally, affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, with an estimated 264 million individuals affected. In the United States alone, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that approximately 17.3 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

The Impact of Depression:

Depression extends far beyond feelings of sadness or low mood; it can significantly impair daily functioning and quality of life. Individuals living with depression may experience a range of symptoms, including persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Left untreated, depression can lead to serious consequences, including impaired relationships, decreased productivity, and in severe cases, thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

May’s Efforts to Educate and Empower:

Mental Health Month plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about depression and empowering individuals to seek help and support. Through educational initiatives, community outreach, and advocacy efforts, May provides a platform to destigmatize depression and promote understanding and empathy. By sharing information about the signs and symptoms of depression, available treatment options, and avenues for support, we empower individuals to recognize when they or someone they care about may be struggling and to take proactive steps towards healing. 

The Importance of Early Intervention:

Early intervention is key in effectively managing depression and preventing its escalation. By educating individuals about the importance of seeking help early and reducing barriers to accessing mental health services, we can facilitate timely interventions and improve outcomes for those living with depression. Whether it’s through therapy, medication, support groups, or lifestyle modifications, various evidence-based treatments are available to help individuals manage their symptoms and reclaim their well-being.

Building Supportive Communities:

Community support is instrumental in creating an environment where individuals feel safe and supported in addressing their mental health needs. Mental Health Month encourages communities to unite, offer support, and foster open dialogue about depression. By creating spaces for individuals to share their experiences, seek validation, and connect with others who understand, we can reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging for those living with depression.

My Passion Towards Mental Health: 

After experiencing the profound loss of a beloved family member, CJ Smuin, we were deeply moved to take action in his memory. In honor of CJ’s life, our family founded the non-profit organization CJ Smuin Memorial Foundation in remembrance and with a passionate commitment to raising awareness about suicide prevention and mental health.

The CJ Smuin Memorial Foundation (, is dedicated to breaking the silence surrounding suicide, fostering understanding, and empowering individuals who may be struggling with mental health challenges, especially the youth. Through advocacy, education, and community events, we strive to create a more compassionate and supportive community where individuals feel safe to seek help and support.


As we observe Mental Health Month this May, let us reaffirm our commitment to educating ourselves and others about depression and empowering individuals to prioritize their mental well-being. By raising awareness, promoting early intervention, building supportive communities, and advocating for accessible mental health services, we can make a profound difference in the lives of those affected by depression. Together, let us embrace May’s efforts to educate and empower, ensuring no one faces depression alone.

You are not alone. The world is a better place with YOU in it.

-Kashley Jones, FNP-C