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? Well, 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
• 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:
• Changes in socialization
• Changes in academic performance
• Changes in behavior
• Changes in sleep
Check out this video to learn more about 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?
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.