Mental Health Awareness for January 2017

January Mental Health Awareness

Along with Advocacy & Awareness
for other mental health related issues
(and a calendar for the month!)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the ADD/ADHD Cormidities series

It takes one person to make a difference —
just think of what thousands can do.

~ Psychology Today 2016 Awareness Calendar

A bit early for January

I am using the lull between Christmas Day and New Years Eve to post January’s Awareness list.

I’m pretty sure that nobody will be in any kind of shape to pay attention to it on New Year’s Day (nor am I likely to be in any kind of shape to get it up on January first myself!)

Mark your blogging calendars anyway

Every month and many days of the year have been set aside to promote awareness or advocacy of an illness, disability, or other special-needs-related cause. Scroll down to use this January index to make sure you mark those special occasions this month.

In addition to a calendar for the current month, each Awareness post usually offers a list highlighting important days and weeks that impact and intersect with mental health issues.

May 2017 be the year
when EVERYONE becomes aware of
the crying need for upgraded mental health Awareness.

If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in a comment so that I can add it to the list below.

Attention Bloggers: If you write (or have written) an article that adds content, feel free to leave a link in the comment section and I will move it into it into the Related Content on this post.

Included on every Awareness Month list are awareness and advocacy reminders for health problems that intersect, exacerbate or create problems with cognition, mood, memory, follow-through and attention management.

Stay tuned for more articles about Executive Functioning struggles and management throughout the year (and check out the Related Posts for a great many already published.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

Executive Functioning Awareness

Many mental health & EF attentional challenges are NOT genetic; many are acquired, sometimes long after birth.

The Executive Functioning struggles you will most frequently hear or read about are exhibited by individuals diagnosed with one of the ADD/ADHD varietals, usually associated with a genetic component.

Related Post: ADD Overview-101

However, NOT ALL attentional & cognitive deficits are present from birth, simply waiting for manifestations of a genetic propensity to show up as an infant grows older – not by a long shot!

Frequently it’s situational

Almost everyone experiences situational challenges, and deficits in the Executive Functioning [EF] arena can show up any time the number of events requiring our attention and focus exceeds our ability to attend.

Situational challenges are those transitory lapses that occur whenever our ability to attend is temporarily impaired – when there are too many items competing for focus at the same time — whenever our brain is a bit “under the weather” for any number of reasons

As I began in Types of Attentional Deficits, EF problems with attention, short-term memory and cognition are accompanied by specific markers, regardless of origin or age of onset:

  • neuro-atypical changes in the pattern of brain waves,
  • the location of the area doing the work of attention and cognition,
  • and the neural highways and byways traveled to get the work done.

In addition to the challenges that accompany neuropsychiatric issues and age-related cognitive decline, a currently unknown percentage of attentional deficits are those that are the result of damage to the brain.

Many ways brains can be damaged

  • Some types of damage occur during gestation and birth (for example, the result of substances taken or falls sustained during pregnancy, or an interruption of the delivery of oxygen in the birth process);
  • Others are the result of a head injury caused by an accident or contact sports (since TBIs often involve damage to the tips of the frontal lobes or shearing of white-matter tracts associated with diagnostic AD(h)D);
  • Still others result from the absorption or ingestion of neurotoxic substances; and
  • A great many are riding the wake of damage caused by stroke, physical illnesses and their treatment protocols and medications.

Need More Examples?

Cognitive lapses and functional struggles frequently occur when the brain is temporarily impaired or under-functioning due to:

  • Medication, alcohol or other substances
  • Grief or other strong emotional responses
  • Stress, especially prolonged stress
  • Sleep deprivation

Only a FEW symptoms you (or others) might notice:

  • Mood changes or mood swings — or heightened emotions or reactions
  • Irritability, impatience and/or increased aggressiveness
  • Difficulty understanding broader ideas at times — especially abstract concepts
  • Short-term memory difficulties and shortened attention span
  • Struggles concentrating on written material
  • Impaired decision-making ability
  • Denial of disability

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at
THREE of the few Awareness events for January.

Awareness and Advocacy Dates for January 2017

Remember: If you write (or have written) an article that adds content to any of these categories, feel free to leave a link in the comment section and I will add it to the post’s Related Content.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month
National Birth Defects Prevention Network
March of Dimes

We usually think of physical manifestations when we think “birth defects” – but even though we can’t SEE it, the brain is part of the physical body as well, and mental health problems can begin in utero.

Thyroid Awareness Month
American Thyroid Association

Yep! Thyroid problems (and medication side effects) can cause problems in EF arenas – and frequently DO.

National Blood Donor Month
American Association of Blood Banks
America’s Blood Centers

Did you know that accident statistics for those with EF struggles (especially impulsivity) are much greater than those in the general population?  And the need for blood created by more than a few of those accidents is a good reason to go give some this month!

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Issues for men and women alike
American Cancer Society: Cervical Cancer
WHO Cervical Cancer/HPV FactSheet

ONE more to note from a preventative standpoint, especially with what is on the access-to-affordable-health-care horizon.  Believe it or not, this is an issue that directly affects men as well as women – the virus that causes most cervical cancer is transmittable and can develop into other types of cancers.

I’m sure we all want to avoid the negative cognitive effects of “chemo-brain” almost as much as the other ways in which cancer and treatment impact our overall health and well-being. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers — and can sometimes be prevented entirely by having regular Pap tests.

Affordable access to prevention, screening, diagnostic measures, and treatments for new and pre-existing conditions is essential for keeping ourselves, our children, and our sexual partners healthy.”
~ Susanne Marie Poulette, from her excellent timesunion blog article

Worth your time to check out John E. McDonough’s thought-provoking article,
Five Affordable Care Act questions for the GOP: Republican plans don’t add up
while there’s still time to let your elected representatives know how you feel. users may prefer to find it HERE.

Other links to other posts and lists can be found below (in the Related Content section at the bottom of the majority of my articles), with my appreciation for improving your own Awareness, with hopes that you will help me SPREAD THE WORD!

© 2016, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)

Thanks to Terri Mauro, Parenting Special Needs Expert from the site for many of the links that formed the genesis of the original Awareness articles.

As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on

Related Content ’round the ‘net

BY THE WAY: Since is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.





About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

33 Responses to Mental Health Awareness for January 2017

  1. Janice Wald says:

    I am Debby’s friend Janice. It was nice of her to reblog my FotoJet article. Thanks for coming to my site and “liking” the tutorial.
    In response to what you wrote, I learned facts here. For example, I have thyroid disease. I didn’t know there was a month for that.
    Thanks for the information and once again for coming to my blog. I wanted to come thank you and introduce myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janice. How nice of you to come introduce yourself. We must keep in touch.

      I don’t know why I read those kinds of articles, sometimes – lol – I’m all thumbs technically anymore, it seems, But I keep hoping that eventually I’ll catch up and join the rest of the universe.

      Years ago I was in the computer field, btw, I’m not a luddite or a newbie. But when you drop out for a while, everything’s different when you return, and anything you thought you knew seems to guide you in the wrong direction!

      BUT, I love DGK and do what I can to keep up with her blog.

      This article looked well written, so I jumped over to read the rest of the reblog. WELL done, really. Even I might be able to give it an effective go, given some time and a smidge of concentration.

      So sorry to hear about your thyroid troubles, but I’m glad you now know that you have your own awareness month. If you have kids, you probably already know to warn them to watch carefully – which means they need to be aware of the signs.

      Medical science not exactly ready to say it is hereditary, but there is a higher statistical probability that children of parents with thyroid troubles will develop them as well. (learned from my Mom – who was on Synthroid).

      Thanks for stopping by. I do these Awareness Posts monthly, and I try to work in a bit of education with every one – on or around the first of every month.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Janice Wald says:

        Hi Madelyn,
        1. Thank you so much for following my blog. I have made great friends through Debby. I look forward to getting to know you better.
        2. Regarding thyroidism: I thought it skipped generations which meant I didn’t have to worry about my daughters. You are very knowledgeable. Was my information wrong?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Last time I looked there was no scientific support for “skips generations” – even with having twins, btw, which is where you hear it most often – but it’s been some time since I’ve looked.

          My mother’s doctor was concerned enough that he followed up to ASK if she’d let us know, for what that’s worth.

          The tiered tests aren’t reliable either (false negatives). A coach in one of my long trainings claimed that she was near death before she finally got someone to approve the final phase test, where it was caught – in time, obviously.

          Nothing “suspicious” showed up on the “prelim” tests, even though she was getting worse all the time. She claims they treated her as if she were a hypochondriac until she was finally SO sick, yet they tested her for everything BUT thyroidism until she lost it and insisted.

          I remind my students that 50% of med students graduate at the bottom of their respective classes – which means that at least some of what they were exposed to didn’t get in!

          Don’t mean to scare you, but self-advocating is easier with info. It’s YOUR health.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Janice Wald says:

            Thank you for all this information. Much appreciated! No you didn’t scare me; I believe in empowerment.

            Liked by 1 person

            • You’re welcome, BUT keep in mind that I am only one person – albeit an extremely well-informed one on many fronts. My strength is in mental health and executive functioning disorders, and I am NOT a doctor or research scientist.

              I can only speak from my perspective, and *nobody* knows everything about much of anything. Science marches on, and try as I do, nobody can keep up with ALL new information.

              I’m sure you would anyway, but I want to encourage you to check out multiple sources as you decide how you choose to proceed.

              Our bodies are complex organisms. Unlike technology that CAN, ultimately, be understood in a manner that most techs can agree with, there will always be opposing opinions about health and wellness.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Janice Wald says:

              Thanks again for the help and information. I enjoyed getting to know you tonight. Going to sleep. It is 1030 here on a school night. I am a history teacher.

              Liked by 1 person

            • G’nite – It’s 1:30 AM here, so I am on my way as well.


  2. You use really cool images in your posts. I know random comment, but I rarely use images so it stood out lol! 🙂

  3. mahdheebah says:

    Wow awesome site, you got a lot going on, don’t forget you have all the support you need from us here, we’ll be glad to help in any way possible 😁🙂 , and come check out my site, I feel like I didn’t do enough change

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Kate. Drip, drip, dripping the word out – until the entire world calls out for studies, understanding and empathetic treatment for the very many who are challenged by ADD/EFD, PTSD, TBI, chronic pain – and so-much-more, including doctor/nurse education BEYOND the medical basics (with political support, and AMA backing). If the DEA could finally be educated on the difference between recreational drugging/addiction vs. pharmaceutical medication/pain control, and if congressional lobbyists could care less about capital gains and more about the quality of human lives, now THAT would be a Christmas Miracle indeed. Thanks for helping.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Zara says:

    so very important to keep reminding people about this. great post!


  5. Grandtrines says:

    Reblogged this on Grand Dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s very cool, how you tied the three awareness and advocacy events for January in with Executive Function impairment. It all makes sense, too.

    I wish I could give blood, for more than just altruistic reasons. I have a genetic predisposition for becoming over loaded with iron, which can be just as dangerous as too little iron. The best way to prevent that, especially for a woman past menopause, is to regularly donate blood. And iron rich blood has been accepted as safe by most blood banks.

    However, my blood type is the rarest of all, AB negative. It is so rare that it is almost never needed. When I tried to give blood, I was told that it would just take up space in the refrigerator, spoil, and have to be thrown out.

    I don’t know why I told you all of that, it’s really not important, is it? My husband is out of town until tomorrow and I am in a talkative mood. 🙂

    I got your messages and I am super excited about your idea!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. It’s surprising to a LOT of folks how many issues lead to or exacerbate EF issues. Like I keep saying, it’s a club open to membership – we ALL have various EF challenges at various points in our lives – or will.

      You are rare – no surprise your blood would be rare! Are you on some kind of emergency call list? I’m the most common blood type O+ — the universal donor.

      I’m so glad you found my messages – we will talk soon!

      Liked by 2 people

      • No, they didn’t even want to put me on an emergency call list. I was told that people with my super rare blood type can receive blood from every other blood type: O, A, B, and AB, just as long as it’s Rh negative. But we can only donate to AB people, although we can give to either AB positive or AB negative. So strange! However, AB is the universal donor for plasma, which confounds me even more!

        Several years ago, I did a search looking for information about my blood type, and found some websites that claim we are descended from aliens. I laughed. But then I thought… Huh. That would explain a lot! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Aliens – lol. It is beyond odd that AB blood has qualities so different from other blood types, however.

          I imagine that if we looked we could find websites that claim that we ADDers are descended from aliens – that might be closer to the truth. 🙂

          That would certainly explain a lot – but then, of course, I’d have to say that we came to save “humanity” from itself. Here’s hoping we do!

          Liked by 1 person

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