May is Mental Health Month
Updated: May 20
Have you ever felt anxious? depressed? or stressed? It is important to remember that those feelings are okay, however it is what you do while experiencing those feelings can impact your life. Mental Health Month reminds us that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Mental Illness VS. Mental Health
Mental Illness is a condition which affects a person’s mood, feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Some mental illnesses are depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. Mental illnesses, such as depression can create high risks of other physical health problems such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, etc.
Mental illness can lead to harming a person’s life. Suicide, which is often associated with symptoms of mental illness, is the 10th leading cause of death for the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 15-34. (CDC)
Mental health is a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. This happens throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Mental health is equally as important as physical health.
In 2017-2018, among adolescents (ages 12-17) in Idaho who reported a major depressive episode in the past year, 52.5% did not receive mental health treatment, which was similar to the U.S. rate of 58.5%.
Causes of mental illness
Some of the causes of mental illnesses are the following:
· Life experiences- child abuse, witnessing violence, etc.
· Ongoing medical conditions- diabetes, cancer, etc.
· Alcohol or recreational drugs
· Feeling lonely or isolated
Signs of mental Health problems
If you are, or a child you know is showing the following signs- it is best to get help from a medical provider or mental health professional.
Feels very sad, hopeless or irritable
Feels overly anxious or worried
Is scared and fearful; has frequent nightmares
Is excessively angry
Uses alcohol or drugs
Avoids people; wants to be alone all of the time
Hears voices or sees things that aren’t there
Can’t concentrate, sit still, or focus attention
Needs to wash, clean things, or perform certain rituals many times a day
Talks about suicide or death
Hurts other people or animals; or damages property
Has major changes in eating or sleeping habits
Loses interest in friends or things usually enjoyed
Falls behind in school or earns lower grades
Mental Health Test
If you are concerned about yourself or a child, you may take the following test that will help you determine whether your/their emotions, attention, or behavior might be a problem.
Parent Test - For parents who may be concerned about their child.
Youth Test - For youth ages 11-17 years old.
Mental Health Test - Available to anyone and the quickest way to determine if you are experiencing a mental health condition.
How to help your mental health
Gratitude journal- Write down a couple of things that you are grateful for. Focusing on the good things will help you be more positive.
Talk to family and friends- Catch up with family or friends! Surrounding yourself with people who are encouraging, and trusting can relieve stress.
Go outside for 30 minutes- Take a walk or moment to enjoy the fresh air.
Meditate- Breathing and relaxing exercises are helpful.
Good nights reset- Having a set schedule everyday could be beneficial.
Exercise- At least for 30 minutes a day.
Make time for yourself- Do something you enjoy, or even good at! Self-care is always important.
Do something kind- Volunteer at any place of your choice or do a good deed.
Avoid alcohol and other drugs- These normally increase risks of mental illnesses.
Get help when needed- Talk to someone you trust. When you feel that you may need more help, talk to a medical provider or a trained professional.
If you or someone you know is seeking mental health support or in crisis now- refer to these resources or call 9-1-1 immediately.
NAMI Help Line:
Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., ET
1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
For 24/7 Support:
800-273-8255 or Text MHA to 741741
15 Ways to Care for Your Mental Health. GUIDE, Inc. (n.d.). https://guideinc.org/2020/05/07/15-ways-to-care-for-your-mental-health/.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, January 26). Learn About Mental Health - Mental Health - CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm.
KFF. (2020, November 20). Mental Health in Idaho. KFF. https://www.kff.org/statedata/mental-health-and-substance-use-state-fact-sheets/idaho/#:~:text=In%202017%2D2018%2C%20among%20adolescents,the%20U.S.%20rate%20(58.5%25).
Mental Health Month. Mental Health America. (n.d.). https://www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month.
NAMI. (n.d.). You Are Not Alone. Mental Health Awareness Month. https://www.nami.org/getattachment/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Partners-and-Events/YANA2021-Partner-Guide.pdf.
What Is Mental Health? MentalHealth.gov. (2020, May 28). https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health.