Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month, as well as Alcohol Awareness Month?

Stress Awareness Month is a national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society. Likewise, Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery.

Though they are not affiliated, the fact that these two campaigns take place at the same time is helpful for starting a conversation about how mental health, stress, and coping mechanisms (including unhealthy ones such as substance abuse) are interdependent variables in our lives. Stress has the ability to amplify or aggravate both substance abuse and mental health conditions. Substance abuse conditions often develop as an attempt to self-medicate mental health problems or relieve chronic stress. And having a mental health condition can add stress to a modern everyday life that is already packed with commitments, obligations, deadlines, and competing priorities. These three issues—stress, mental health conditions, and substance abuse—can interact in unanticipated ways and can impact each individual uniquely.

Taking this into account, April is a perfect time to visit Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee (MHAMT)’s website and take advantage of our free, online screenings. There, you’ll find short, confidential screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, psychosis, eating disorders, workplace stress, and more. Each screening can also connect you to additional information, resources, and even access to mental health professionals in your area.

At MHAMT, our work is driven by a commitment to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. We are committed to: prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; and integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it, with recovery as the goal. The tools and resources we provide to the public are aimed at discovering and addressing mental health conditions long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process, in much the same way as we treat other serious conditions like cancer or heart disease.

MHAMT is an affiliate of Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Learn more about our mission, programming, and how you can get involved at our website, www.mhamt.org.