2021

Published on May 21, 2021

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health includes not only a person’s emotions, but also their psychological and social well-being. Mental health helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. It’s important at every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood.

According to the CDC, mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States.

  • More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
  • In Ohio, more than 1,700 people die each year by suicide due to mental illness, alcohol and other types of substance abuse.

Depression and anxiety go hand in hand when discussing mental health, however; there are differences between the two. Feelings of anxiousness, constant worry and fearfulness are symptoms associated with anxiety. Symptoms of depression can include feeling helpless, hopeless, and unexcited for future opportunities.

People who may be dealing with depression, anxiety, or both may experience a change in the self-perception, affecting professional and personal relationships. It is important to pay attention to your loved ones and take note if any type of change in behavior is noticed.

The COVID-19 Pandemic presented many challenges that tested the strength and resiliency of many people over the past year. Throughout the pandemic, people experienced mental health challenges that they may not have faced before. Although it can take time to find what works best, tools and resources are available to help support individuals to improve mental health.

If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, there are several ways to keep those feelings of sadness or hopelessness at bay. A person can journal, meditate, practice some form of prayer, and talk to their doctor if they think there may an underlying condition that needs addressed.

It is important to spend time outside. Vitamin D is associated with improving your mood and taking a 30-minute walk outside can improve energy levels, reduce depression, and boost well-being.

Mental and physical health are important components of overall health.  Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness. If you know someone who may be dealing with some form of anxiety or depression, let he/she know you care. If you need immediate assistance, the Holzer Psychiatric Unit is available at 740-446-5808. This phone line is managed 24/7 with a representative to assist anyone with mental health needs. An additional resource includes the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255. Calls are completely confidential and available 24/7.

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