May is National Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children, work in the next cubicle or sit in the same church pew.
However, only half of those affected receive treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health. Untreated, mental illness can contribute to higher medical expenses, poorer performance at school and work, fewer employment opportunities and increased risk of suicide.
What Exactly is a Mental Illness
A mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases which can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease.
The two most common mental health conditions are:
Anxiety Disorders – More than 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.
What You Can Do to Help
Although the general perception of mental illness has improved over the past decades, studies show that stigma against mental illness is still powerful, largely due to media stereotypes and lack of education, and that people tend to attach negative stigmas to mental health conditions at a far higher rate than to other diseases and disabilities, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
Stigma affects not only the number seeking treatment, but also the number of resources available for proper treatment. Stigma and misinformation can feel like overwhelming obstacles for someone who is struggling with a mental health condition. Here a few powerful things you can do to help:
- Showing individuals respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their illness. Having people see you as an individual and not as your illness can make the biggest difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
- Advocating within our circles of influence helps ensure these individuals have the same rights and opportunities as other members of your church, school and community.
- Learning more about mental health allows us to provide helpful support to those affected in our families and communities.
Great sources for mental health news and information include:
Jean Holthaus, LISW, MSW, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and clinic manager at the Pine Rest Pella Clinic.rescue me pets patriots for pets craigslist dallas tx pets cheap pets pets in adopt me names of pets quokkas as pets little live pets fish craigslist pets nashville tn craigslist milwaukee pets monkey pets how long do cats live as pets exceptional pets omg pets pets best insurance wonder pets songs simple pets freshwater fish pets adopt me pets for free snowball secret life of pets low maintenance small pets adopt me new pets secret life of pets 3 bts pets anime pets brainerd craigslist pets craigslist sacramento pets animal pets purse pets mcallen craigslist pets pintler pets do pets go to heaven chinchilla pets twisty pets giga pets akron craigslist pets are foxes good pets entirely pets pharmacy craigslist fresno pets best air purifier for pets craigslist tucson pets forever pets corvids as pets rockstar pets funny pets craigslist tucson pets people pets adventure pets little live pets fish minecraft pets pets best insurance live pets toys seattle craigslist pets all pets rodent pets secret life of pets pot bellied pigs as pets craigslist des moines pets oregon craigslist pets sims 4 pets mods happiness is pets craigslist orlando pets craigslist pensacola pets all pets club branford good pets for kids wonder pets songs lol pets pigs as pets monkey pets pets supply posh pets rescue small monkey pets minecraft pets craigslist okc pets types of monkeys as pets robot pets best parrots for pets exceptional pets all pets animal hospital first coast no more homeless pets craigslist indianapolis pets jay prehistoric pets pets by spotify pets come first abq craigslist pets berlin pets meds for pets are bearded dragons good pets furniture covers for pets craigslist denver pets chia pets happiness is pets adopt me pets legendary pets on trains harbor pets craigslist bloomington il pets pets hotel polly pets how long do hedgehogs live as pets craigslist austin pets world of pets norris nuts hotels for pets houses to rent that allow pets lists of pets petco pets pets terraria house pets best reptile pets do pets go to heaven pets cast adopt me pets for sale