May is Mental Health Awareness Month
“The best way out is always through” – Robert Frost
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), states on its website that each year, “millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the month of May, NAMI and the rest of the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger. In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and brought the issue of mental health to the forefront of our nation’s thoughts.” Organizations such as NAMI, CDC, and NIMH dedicate their efforts to spreading mental health awareness throughout the month of May.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), has stated that 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. suffers from depression. Concurrently, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that almost 3 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from bipolar disorder. Below are some interesting facts provided by MentalHealth.gov:
• 37% of students with a mental health condition age 14 and older drop out of school—the highest dropout rate of any disability group
• “Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24 in the U.S.
• 70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness
• Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occuring mental health and addiction disorders
• 18.1% (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorders
As per the CDC website, “Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It is estimated that only about 17% of U.S. adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health. There is emerging evidence that positive mental health is associated with improved health outcomes.” CDC says that
Mental illness is defined as ‘collectively all diagnosable mental disorders’ or ‘health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.’ Depression is the most common type of mental illness, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world, trailing only ischemic heart disease. Evidence has shown that mental disorders, especially depressive disorders, are strongly related to the occurrence, successful treatment, and of course many chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and obesity and many risk behaviors for chronic disease; such as, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive drinking, and insufficient sleep.
Mental health and overall wellness is crucial to everyday life. People with positive mental health are people who are aware of their potential, can work through normal daily stresses, can contribute to their communities and be productive in the workplace. In order to keep a healthy mental state, one must seek professional help should it become necessary. In addition, they should help others, join fitness programs, meet new people, or simply get the right amount of sleep and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
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