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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.