Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in May. Our mental health cannot be ignored – it’s vital to our state of being. A happy life requires a contented mind. Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a reminder to take care of the mind and body. Both are crucial to leading a truly healthy lifestyle, and both are essential for the well-being of society.
It’s not enough to simply be aware of the issue, however. It’s necessary to act. With anxiety and depression on the rise and suicide still a common cause of death in the United States, there’s an immediate need for change.
Why Mental Health Month Awareness Is Necessary Now
The non-stop rollercoaster of events that have taken place over the past year have added even more stress factors to daily life. The CDC found the COVID-19 pandemic was directly related to decreased mental health. From 2020 to 2021, the percentage of adults with anxiety or depressive symptoms increased from 36.4% to 41.5%. The number of people reporting unmet mental health needs increased as well.
Today, with the additional stress factors of work, bills, and now a pandemic, it’s easy to lose sight of mental health. That’s why it’s so key.
Mental Health in the United States
The numbers are higher than many would think. Even before COVID-19, in the United States, of adults had experienced a mental illness. These could include:
In a given year, close to 1 in 5 American adults have a mental health condition that requires treatment.
The Most Crucial Things to Know About Mental Health Awareness Month
It’s essential to continuously learn about mental health, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month.
There are many possible signs of developing mental health issues, not just long-term sadness or thoughts of suicide. Some symptoms that may not be as readily noted in adults include:
Remember – excessive depression or suicidal thoughts are a sign that it’s time to seek help immediately. For those that need it, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 988 or (800) 273-8255
How to Improve During Mental Health Month
There are a several ways to help improve mental health. Top expert Tom Wooldridge from GoodTherapy believes paying attention is the first step, saying, “First, we pay attention to our own mental health. What is the legacy of mental illness in my own family-of-origin and how does it affect my day-to-day life? … Second, we recognize the impact of mental illness and emotional suffering on those around us.”
A few more ways to improve mental health include:
How to Seek Help for Mental Health
Reaching out to a primary physician is almost always the best move. You can also:
Additionally, you can take the Mental Health America’s mental health test as a step towards understanding the problem.
If there are additional concerns after taking the test, you may want to take the screening results to a physician.
Setting Aside Time for Mental Health Month
As simple as it sounds, there’s not much better for mental health than just taking a break now and then. Hectic lifestyles that don’t allow for a break will wear down the mind. However, setting aside time to relax, meditate, or even take a nap can do wonders for mental health.
Ways to Get Involved in Mental Health Awareness
As individuals, each member of society needs to contribute to increased mental health awareness. Mental illnesses, like depression, can affect anyone. Some minority groups are more affected than others, such as members of the LGBTQ community, and require special attention.
Here are few ways to get involved in mental health awareness, whether it’s during Mental Health Awareness Month or not:<
Learn About Symptoms and Signs
Being familiar with the potential symptoms and signs helps everyone stay vigilant. The more people who pay attention, the more often early signs will be caught. The result is more early treatment and less prolonged diagnoses.
Giving support to those in need is essential. Everybody needs a little care now and then – all it can take sometimes is a shoulder to lean on and an ear to be heard by. On the other end, it’s also critical to pay attention to inner emotional needs, not just those of others.
Becoming involved in the mental health community is an excellent way to take action while growing continually. This could mean joining online chat boards, fundraising for awareness causes, and maybe even donating to a mental health awareness charity. Being a part of a community is a great way to learn more and spread the word.
Mental Health Awareness Month comes at a time when everything is returning to full bloom. Everything living grows, withers in the winter, and then blossoms again in the spring. Some may shiver in the cold, but with the sun comes the promise of new growth.
It’s not enough to just be conscious of mental health – it’s vital to act to improve it. Otherwise, as a society, we stand to pay a price much too high.