Together, We Can Take Care of Our Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the importance of mental well-being and to fight the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. At San Mateo County Libraries, we believe that knowledge and understanding are powerful tools for promoting mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans’ lives and to celebrate recovery from mental illness. 

Heal Through Connection

Each year, San Mateo County Health, opens a new window has a different Mental Health Month theme, and this year's theme is Heal Through Connection, #SMCAgainstLoneliness. In January, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring loneliness to be a public health crisis and pledged to promote social connection in our communities. We all experience loneliness from time to time, but chronic loneliness can have a significant impact on our mental health. It's also important to distinguish between loneliness and social isolation. Social isolation refers to the lack of social contact, while loneliness is the feeling of being alone or disconnected from others, even if you're surrounded by people.

Combatting Loneliness

  • You can build social connections by joining a club or group activity related to your interests. Even small interactions can make a difference. With a quick online search, you can find many groups that form around every kind of hobby or interest!
  • Stay in touch with loved ones, or reconnect with old friends or family members. Scheduling regular calls or video chats to stay connected an important tool to combat loneliness.
  • Seek professional help. If you're struggling with loneliness or mental health challenges, a licensed therapist can provide support and guidance. San Mateo County Health provides resources on finding professional help near you.
  • You can also connect with your inner self using the Calm, opens a new window app, available for free with your library card. Calm provides guided meditations, courses, stories, music and other helpful tools to manage stress and improve your mental health.

Establishing Connections

San Mateo County Libraries offer a welcoming space to connect with others and combat loneliness: we have several different book clubs that meet regularly, as well as various programs for adults such as gem paintingadult coloringtrivia nights and more. If you have difficulty connecting in person, or prefer connecting virtually, we offer various online programs where you can gain that sense of community from the comfort of your home. 

Volunteering, especially at your local library or within the community, offers a powerful way to combat loneliness, improve your mental health and create meaningful connections. Contributing your skills and time to a worthy cause can foster feelings of self-worth and purpose. Whether you're a recent retiree, a student or simply someone who wants to give back, volunteering at the library can be incredibly rewarding and can make a positive impact on your community.

Now more than ever, it's important that we find ways to connect with one another. This May, we encourage you to connect with others and get involved in your community.