Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month: What You Should Know

Mental health issues are something many of us will deal with at some point in our lives, with Mental Health America stating that 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness during their lifetime. This is why May’s Mental Health Awareness Month is so important in shining a spotlight on the mental health issues that can arise for any of us.

What are mental health disorders?

The Mayo Clinic refers to mental health disorders as “disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior.” The affects of mental health disorders can be wide-reaching, affecting emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Signs could include feeling sad or down, having mood changes or withdrawals, among other similar issues.

Who is it impacting?

Mental health illness affects both adults and children. While 20% of adults deal with a form of mental illness during their lifetime, more serious cases will be experienced by 4% of adults. Children can also be impacted, as information from the National Alliance of Mental Illness indicates that 17% of children (age 17 and under) experience a mental health disorder.

Some of the most common chronic mental health issues (12 months or more) include:

  • 19% Anxiety disorders
  • 7% Depression
  • 4% Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 4% Dual diagnosis
  • 3% Bipolar disorder
  • 1% Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • 1% Schizophrenia
  • 1% Borderline Personality Disorder

(See the data from the National Alliance of Mental Illness)

What can you do?

If someone in your life is struggling with a mental illness, be there for them. Millions of family members step into this role every day as data indicates that at least 8.4 million Americans provide care for family members with mental illness often for an average of 32 unpaid hours each week.

Mental Health American puts together a toolkit each year with great information for patients and families. You can access the 2020 toolkit here. Topics covered in the toolkit this year include owning your feelings, finding the positives in a situation, eliminating toxic influences from your life, creating healthy routines, as well as supporting and connecting with others.

You may also need to speak to a medical professional about any ongoing issues you have.

The CDC has even published information on how to deal with the stress of the current COVID-19 health situation.