Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States every May since 1949. It’s a time for us, as a nation, to come together and fight the stigma associated with mental health conditions and those who have them or seek treatment for them. Mental Health Month serves as a reminder that mental illness is common, is treatable, and is nothing to be ashamed of. This year during Mental Health Month we are reminding the more than 43 million American who have a mental illness: You are not alone and your mental health matters, now more than ever.
“Across the United States approximately one in five people may be experiencing the effects of a mental illness,” said Niki Grajewski, Centerstone Clinical Manager. “Here in Southern Illinois, as we battle the effects of poverty, generational trauma, community violence, and now social isolation, among other factors, it is more important than ever to acknowledge when people may be struggling, so we can intervene and assist”
So what exactly is mental health? Generally speaking, mental health is comprised of our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It’s all about how we think, feel, and act. Taking care of our mental health is vitally important because it can affect every aspect of our lives, from relationships with friends and family members to our productivity at work or school. Our mental wellbeing can be diminished by a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and more. These conditions vary widely in their severity, but at any level can have a negative impact on our lives.
“The negative effects of the symptoms of a mental illness can affect a child or adult in many different ways,” Grajewski said. “Children may be chronically depressed, but to a parent appear to be oppositional and ‘naughty’. Adults may suffer from anxiety, and the coping skills developed to assist with anxiety contribute to health problems, or even substance use. What we think, and how we feel, has a profound impact on our overall well being – physically, emotionally, and psychologically.”
Our mental health can also be negatively affected by certain situations we face in our lives. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and mental illness have been brought to the forefront of our minds. The pandemic has drastically changed many aspects of our lives and has brought a great sense of worry, insecurity, and fear. No one has been left unaffected by COVID-19 and this is why it’s more important than ever to be attune to our mental health needs and make our mental wellbeing a priority.
You can easily show support for mental health and Mental Health Month by: