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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

If this global pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of mental health. For over a year now, most of us have had to adapt, learn new skills, and change our routines and lives. All of these changes can impact our mental health. Mental health is important and while we start this new month, we want to support and share that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. How common is it? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24

What is Mental Health?

Mental health has to do with the emotional, psychological, and social aspects of our lives. It determines how we respond to stress and changes, how we relate to others, and the different choices we make. Additionally, mental health plays a role in how we handle the responses I just mentioned. There are many factors that contribute to mental health, therefore being aware of your mental health is important at all stages of life, including childhood. Talking about mental health early on is vital. Unfortunately, there are stigmas related to mental health, which can stop us from seeking help, talking about it, or even acknowledging it ourselves.

How to Maintain Positive Mental Health?

In order to maintain positive mental health, we must first develop positive mental health. Having positive mental health can increase adaptability, coping, relationships, and productivity. Developing positive mental health starts in childhood and mental health can change over time.

Some ways to maintain positive mental health, include:

  • Physical activity
  • Connecting with others
  • Sleep
  • Healthy, balanced diet
  • Mindfulness, yoga, meditation

It is also necessary to be aware of warning signs that could indicate challenges with mental health.

What are Some Warning Signs?

Each of us can experience ups and downs with our mental health. Know yourself and pay attention to potential warning signs.

Children can also display signs of mental health challenges and these may look different than those seen in adults. Here are some changes and warning signs to look out for. Changes in:

  • Socialization
  • Academic performance
  • Behavior
  • Sleep

Check out this video to learn more about the warning signs of mental health.

Focus on Prevention

We can work to prevent poor mental health or challenges with mental health by:

  • Developing coping skills
  • Talking about mental health
  • Breaking the stigmas of mental health
  • Finding support early on

Where to Get Help?

Getting help is key in treating mental health. It is ok to learn more about specific mental health disorders and get help. You can also contact the NAMI HelpLine.

Teenager getting help along side her parents to learn more and treat her mental health.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, January 26). Learn About Mental Health – Mental Health – CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm
Mental Health Conditions. NAMI. (n.d.). https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions
What Is Mental Health? What Is Mental Health? | MentalHealth.gov (2020, May 28). https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health.