Since 1949, Mental Health America and partnering organizations have led the initiative to observe Mental Health Month in May each year. This year marks the 70th year of this observance.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act every day – in small and large ways – as we cope with life. It also impacts how we deal with stress, related to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life – from early childhood, through the teen years and adolescence, through adulthood, and into the senior years.
What are mental illnesses?
Most of us think of illness or disease as the opposite of health. And most of the time we’re pretty adept at identifying states of physical illness or “un-health.” But identifying mental illness may be more difficult. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illnesses are common in the US, affecting tens of millions of people each year. Some estimates suggest that only about half of people with mental illness receive treatment. Mental health illnesses are serious disorders which can affect mood, thinking, and behavior, as well as the ability to function on a daily basis and relate to others.
The list of mental illnesses is long and includes anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, personality disorders, and suicide.
What are some early warning signs of mental illness?
If you or someone close to you is experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors, seek professional advice:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Low or no energy for normal activities
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings
- Persistent thoughts and memories that won’t go away
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
Why is mental health important?
The importance of mental health really cannot be minimized because it has such an impact on every aspect of daily life. Good mental health is vital to:
- Coping with the stresses of everyday life – big and small
- Good physical health
- Strong and healthy relationships
- The ability to be productive in the work environment and make meaningful contributions to your community
- Being able to realize your full potential and enjoy life
Mental Health Month 2019:
This year’s 70th observance expands upon last year’s theme of #4Mind4Body by exploring topics of “animal companionship (including pets and support animals), spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation, and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.” While these topics are certainly relevant to all people, they may be even more important to individuals living with chronic mental health conditions, as well as to the individuals who are close to them and/or care for them.
For more information about Mental Health America or Mental Health Month, to learn more about an observance taking place in your area, or to plan your own activity, visit their website at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may .
Mental Health care for all.
With so many people affected by mental illness, it’s very likely that you live with or know someone who suffers from it. However, all of us deal with issues that can affect our mental health on a daily – if not hourly – basis. Take care of your mental health and your physical health will benefit too! Conversely, an ongoing physical concern or issue can affect your mental health. Integrity Urgent Care is here for you and your family. Contact us with any questions you might have – if we don’t have the answer, we’ll help you find it!
Resources and more information:
Mental Health America. Mental health month. [accessed 15 May 2019]. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may
National Institute of Mental Health. Mental health information [online]. Last revised May 2017 [accessed 15 May 2019]. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml
National Library of Medicine. Health topics: mental health. MedlinePlus.gov [online]. Updated 5 Mar 2019 [accessed 15 May 2019]. https://medlineplus.gov/mentalhealth.html
US Department of Health & Human Services. What is mental health [online]. MentalHealth.gov. Updated 5 Apr 2019 [accessed 15 May 2019]. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-healt