May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. This month brings attention to the growing number of mental health problems our country faces and helping those learn more about how they can keep their mental health strong.
If you’re unsure as to why this month is important, here are a few reasons.
- Mental Health Problems Are on the Rise
Over 8 million Americans have serious mental health problems, while many more have mild problems that still affect their lives. There are a multitude of reasons for this. Diagnosis has improved. The stresses people face can lead to developing mental illnesses. It’s important to be aware of this and be aware of the fact that many people don’t get the treatments they need.
- Mental Illness Still Has a Stigma
Even though we’ve made some great progress in normalizing mental health awareness, some people don’t see mental health problems as a big deal unless the person has a severe mental illness. You can hear plenty of people claim that ADHD, depression, and various other illnesses are not real and not much of a big deal if they do exist. Treatment has a stigma as well, with many people claiming that therapists don’t work and that someone shouldn’t take medication for mental health problems because it makes things worse.
It’s important to end that stigma. Just because you don’t see the illness and it’s not apparent doesn’t mean that a person isn’t suffering.
- It’s Hard to Get Treatment
Let’s face it: the healthcare system in America needs some work. Many Americans don’t have health insurance, and if they do, it doesn’t cover enough. Paying for therapists and doctor visits can be expensive, and some people think they are better off trying to deal with the mental health problems themselves rather than receiving the care that they do need.
- Not Enough People Are Mindful of Their Mental Health
There are plenty of people who are mindful of their physical health, getting exercise and trying to stay in shape, which is a good thing. However, there are not enough people who give the same care to their mental health. They don’t get enough sleep, they don’t do much to stimulate their brains, and they don’t try to get mental health breaks.
Keeping your mental health up is a good thing, especially as you age. Just as you should exercise your arms or legs, you should exercise your brain as well.
- There’s Too Much Misinformation
On the Internet, we have a bit of an information overload. Some information is helpful, while other information is false and can be dangerous. Parents thinking vaccines cause autism. People thinking they can treat their depression with a bleach enema. The list goes on. While there are some “alternative” treatments that may have promising results, such as cannabis, there are some treatments that are bunk and can be dangerous for everyone. Having awareness of the available treatments out there that are truly effective is important.
- What You Can Do
One of the most important things you can do is to spread the word about Mental Health Awareness month and point to websites such as Regain that can provide mental health treatment online in an easy fashion.
Also, try to improve your own mental health. If you suspected you’ve had a mental illness, now is the time for you to get yourself diagnosed. Even if you don’t, take a mental health break and try to refresh your mind. Your brain will thank you for it later. Here’s hoping that one day, everyone will get the care they need.