May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Even though we are halfway through May, I wanted to take a chance to talk about Mental Health Awareness Month and mental health in general. Although I tend to be cynical about the idea of only focusing on mental health for one month, I think it’s important to participate and maintain that participation year round to truly have a positive effect on actual awareness of mental health issues.

What Are Mental Health Conditions?

(Information taken from NAMI Mental Health Conditions page)

Mental health conditions affect a person’s thinking, feeling or mood, and may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function on a day to day basis.

Genetics, environment, and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. Life events or lifestyle factors like a stressful job or home life make some people more susceptible to mental health conditions.

Some examples of mental health conditions listed on NAMI’s page include:

Some Mental Health Facts from NAMI:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition.
  • 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness.
  • 60 million people in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.
  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but suicide is preventable.
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

 

Mental health has played a continual role in my own life, either through my own experiences or connections to family and friends, as I’m sure it has for many of you. I plan on sharing my own mental health story with you in the coming days to do my part to break down stigmas and foster an environment of understanding and acceptance. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from a more supportive and accepting world, especially in terms of mental health.

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