Mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. It can significantly impact the activities of daily living and may also affect the ability to relate to others. Mental illness is no one’s fault or the result of weakness. It is the result of a confluence of factors including genetics, brain structure, biochemical processes (such as how your body produces or is able to use dopamine), environment and lifestyle influences (high stress, trauma experiences). Mental health conditions are very common and nothing to be ashamed of. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI),
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Unfortunately in many communities, the stigma of having a mental illness persists and discourages people from getting treatment because they are ashamed. The stigma around mental illness and treatment prevents 40% of people from reaching out and can create serious barriers to finding a diagnosis or treatment.
At Vista, we view going to therapy as a general self-care task that everyone can benefit from, similar to getting a massage or going to the doctor to make sure your body stays healthy. As there is a strong correlation between mental health and physical health, working on your mental health can benefit you in more than one way. For example, people with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population.
During May, we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a time to bring awareness to mental health issues and help to decrease the stigma around mental illness and treatment in our communities.
Mental Health Awareness Month was first established in 1949 to highlight the importance of mental wellness and effective treatments that help people live full lives.
To reduce the stigma and emphasize the importance of treatment and recovery, we can educate ourselves about mental health and mental disorders. Being aware of our actions towards others allows us to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
This month’s goal is to provide a foundation for knowledge about mental health and give those the resources needed to seek help.
Check out more resources below:
People Seeking Help | CDC Mental Health Resources
Help For Mental Illnesses | National Institute of Mental Health
We All Have Mental Health | YouTube