Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month brings attention to the widespread issue of mental illness that affects millions of people across America.
Every year, local communities organize events and activities that bring the conversation about mental health into public view.
The origins of Mental Health Awareness Month date back to 1949 when Mental Health America (then known as the National Association for Mental Health) first organized an observance in May as a way to raise awareness and erase the stigma attached to mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed every year since and remains a time where those who suffer from mental illness can be reminded of the support available to them and feel a little less alone in their struggles.
Mental illness is a term used to describe mental health conditions that impact mood, thinking, and behavior. These disorders may interfere with a person’s ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis.
Common mental illnesses include:
- Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, etc.)
- Psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, etc.)
- Anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, etc.).
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness affecting an estimated 48 million people in the U.S per year (19.1%), followed by mood disorders (9.7%).
Symptoms vary depending on the type of mental illness one is struggling with. However, some common symptoms associated with many types of mental illness include:
- Loss of appetite
- Social withdrawal
- Emotional numbness
- Inability to concentrate
- Excessive fear and worry
The signs and symptoms of mental illness can often be confused for various other ailments such as stress, fatigue, or even teenage hormones.
Please watch out for the signs, be there for your family and friends. Provide the necessary support they need and realize this is not a stigma.