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Mental Health Awareness

people sitting in a support group

Since 1949, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. This intervention raises awareness of the importance of mental health in the overall health of children, adults, families, and communities and celebrates and encourages those who are recovering or have recovered from a mental illness. Mental health is something everyone should care about; mental illness doesn’t discriminate. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. 

Mental health is equally as important as physical health. There are various things you can do to maintain positive mental health. Openly discussing your feelings with friends or family allows you to feel supported and know you’re not alone. If you speak out about how you’re feeling, it could benefit someone else’s life by making them feel more comfortable with discussing their own problems. Exercising regularly and sticking to a healthy diet allows you to concentrate, sleep, feel, and look better, which can boost your self-esteem. If you drink alcohol, only do so in moderation and avoid drug use; the temporary fix from drugs or alcohol will only generate more problems. If life is becoming too overwhelming and is making it difficult to go on with daily life, impacting the people you live or work with, or affecting your mood over several weeks, it’s okay to ask for help. Family, friends, and professionals are there assist you. Taking a break from stress or participating in something you are successful at will boost your self-esteem and help you cope with stress. Caring for and helping others allows you to maintain relationships, feel needed and valued, and make a positive impact on the lives of others. Pets can also help reduce stress. At the end of the day, accepting who you are and being proud of yourself helps you to be confident and set realistic expectations. Maintaining positive mental health is crucial to maintaining overall wellness. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only 41% of adults in the United States living with a mental illness received treatment in the past year. There are many different signs that indicate it’s time for you or someone you know to consult a therapist. Experiencing extreme sadness, anger, or out-of-control emotions may indicate you have an issue that professional treatment may solve. If you avoid social situations or no longer find pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, it might be time to see a therapist. Unhealthy behaviors, such as increased alcohol and/or drug use, may be the result of an underlying problem you are coping with. Therapy can help if you struggle to maintain relationships or find yourself in frequent conflict with others. If you’ve experienced recent or past trauma, such as abuse as a child, the death of a loved one, a miscarriage, etc., seeking professional help would be beneficial. If you want to understand yourself better, nothing seems to be helping you, or you just want more support, you should consult a therapist. If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these signs, seeking professional assistance would have a positive impact on your life or the life of someone you know. 

However, not everything is within our control and as a result, 1 out of 5 people will experience difficulty with issues related to mental health in their lifetime. Some of the most common issues are depression, anxiety, grief, family turmoil, and various other circumstances that happen as a result of everyday life. It is incredibly important to recognize the warning signs that indicate it will be beneficial to see a therapist; professional help will most likely be beneficial to your life or the life of a loved one. If you, or a loved one, could use the assistance of a behavioral health professional, please call the Gibson Family Health Clinic at 906.293.9233.