May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

mental health ribbon

“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

  • “In 2011, 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue.”
  • “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. It accounts for the loss of more than 38,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.”
  • “Less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.”
  • “The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.”
  • “Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.”

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.


To learn more about Mental Health Awareness, feel free to click on the links below to learn more: