Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 45% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children, work in the next cubicle, or sit in the same church pew.
However, only half of those affected receive treatment; often because of the stigma attached to mental health. Untreated, mental illness can contribute to higher medical expenses, poorer performance at school and work, fewer employment opportunities and increased risk of suicide.
Over the last several years, mental health and awareness has taken a sharp turn towards acceptance and understanding. This is a strong positive change from the stigma and struggles that are normally paired with the diagnosis of mental illness.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from when we are children, through adolescence and all the way into adulthood and even in our later years as seniors.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. On the other hand, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience bouts of physical, mental, and social well-being.
Why is mental health important for overall health?
Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.
This is an important set of facts to understand because one affects the other and working towards a better balance of life and work and rest and relaxation will not only help your physical health, yet it also affects your emotional and mental health and well-being – both key factors in leading healthy and productive lives.
Can your mental health change over time?
Yes, it’s important to remember that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for a relative, or experiencing economic hardship, they may experience poor mental health. As a younger adult, mental health is directly affected by their parents and/or siblings needs, issues, and situations as well as their mental health. This means that you may grow up in a relatively normal and healthy environment, run into adversity or challenges as a young adult and require medical or psychological needs, and then ease into a maturing grace of attitude and well-being as a senior.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a medical problem, just like heart disease or diabetes. And mental illness is common. Each year:
- More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.3
- 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.4
- 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.5
- 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.6
Mental illness is treatable. Most individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives.
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and you can play an active role in promoting healthy mental awareness by participating in the following ways:
The message from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month IS:
TOGETHER for Mental Health
“Mental health is an incredibly important part of overall health. With a growing number of Americans experiencing mental health symptoms, we need to join together to advocate for improving our nation’s mental health care system.” – NAMI.org
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949.
MHA: Mental Health America – an organization established by Clifford W. Beers. He sparked the mental health reform movement with an insightful autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself (a book that chronicled his struggle with mental illness and the shameful conditions he and millions of others endured in mental institutions throughout the country (1908).
Rejuv at Work offers several options for Mind-Body classes and/or workshops such as: Meditation, Stretch at Your Desk, Deskercise, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. These are all ways to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety; as well as promote a healthier and happier outlook and work environment. We also offer other fitness classes such as Zumba, HIIT, Bootcamp, and classes of all kinds that help with cardiovascular and strength training to balance out the more mindful classes.