At least 1 in 5 American adults struggle with a mental health condition. So yes, of course, every month should be Mental Health Awareness Month. But highlighting these issues every May is still a valuable way to decrease stigma and increase awareness. Since it was designated in 1949, Mental Health Month has been helping more and more people understand the importance of their mental well-being.
Conditions and issues like anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating, substance abuse, and more are increasingly common. Fortunately, effective treatments exist. Healing and recovery have never been more available and accessible. Let’s use May to highlight these important realities.
A Few Mental Health Facts in the U.S.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition
- Each year, 1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental illness
- For those under 18, the number is believed to be 1 in 6
- However, only about half of those in need receive treatment
The last item on the list above demonstrates why we all more awareness. Again, this is not limited to one month but why not use May as your personal launching pad? Allow this month to be when a significant change happens for you and, by proxy, those you interact with.
4 Things To Know About Mental Health Awareness Month In May
1. There Are Identifiable Signs When Daily Stress Negatively Impacts You
Everyone responds differently, of course, but here are some common signs that stress is having an effect on your mental health:
- Loss of focus and concentration
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling sad and unmotivated
- Fatigue and low energy
- Loss of self-confidence
- A general agitation, irritability, and nervousness
Don’t brush off such symptoms. Stress-induced issues can escalate and cause bigger problems over time.
2. You Can Sustain Your Mental Health Even During a Crisis
Your first reaction, understandably, will be some version of panic. But once you let that initial wave pass, there are self-loving steps you can take to avoid further distress, e.g.
- Take long breaks from your devices and turn off notifications
- Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all that is still going well
- Stay connected with trusted loved ones
- Make healthy eating choices
- Do your best to maintain regular sleep patterns
- Stay physically active
- Get outdoors
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other forms of self-medication
- Create routines for yourself to keep things running smoothly
- Be creative!
- Tune into your spirituality practice
Most of all, be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend. Practice self-compassion, patience, and understanding.
3. Talking About Mental Health Month Makes a Difference
- Make it easier for others to open up by starting important conversations
- Do some research and homework to better understand your mindset and the mindsets of the people in your life
- Make it clear that you’re available to talk, listen, and offer support
- Practice getting more comfortable telling your own story
Stigmas can’t survive once they are dragged out into the light. Participate in this effort and watch it benefit everyone you know.
4. Never Forget That Help is Available
Mental health disorders can cause despair and hopelessness. Just when people need help the most, they may start to believe that help can’t be found. This is precisely when you can support them in finding the kind of relief they need and deserve — in May or any month.
Therapy is a Year-Round Solution
Use May to remind yourself and others that a professional mental health guide is just one click or phone call away. Therapy has been the frontline option for a very long time. I invite you to take advantage of a free consultation to learn more about how to be your own mental health advocate!