Part of living a healthy lifestyle is having a clear, healthy mind. May is Mental Health Month and this year, the theme is “Mind Your Health.” What Mental Health America aims to do is: increase public awareness about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness; informing people of the ways that the mind and body interact with each other; and providing tips and tools for taking positive actions to protect mental health and promote whole health. Keeping all of this in mind, I have compiled a list of facts and resources for Mental Health Month.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
That’s according to MentalHealth.gov. Over the course of someone’s life, if they experience mental health problems, their thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Know the Facts
- Nearly 1-in-5 Americans over age 18 will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year, and nearly half (46.4%) will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime.
- Approximately 70% of Americans experience physical and non-physical symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.
- More than 2/3 of American adults are either obese or overweight.
- One in six Americans over age 18 binge drink. Excessive drinking (binge drinking and heavy drinking) causes approximately 80,000 deaths each year.
- Nearly half (48%) of Americans report not getting enough sleep, with women feeling so more than men.
- While it is estimated that approximately half of US adults use supplements, only 23% of supplements used were recommended by a healthcare professional.
- Relationships and social connections are important. Low level of social interaction was found to have an impact on lifespan equivalent to smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and was twice as harmful as being obese.
- Half of American adults do not get the recommended amounts of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
1. Mental Health Month | I’ve already described what this year’s theme is, but on this site you’ll find a toolkit with tons of information, statistics about alcohol, stress, and more, AND fact sheets including: What is Wellness?, Four Simple Steps, Understanding the Social Determinants of Health, Addressing the Social Determinants of Health. While you do have to provide your email address in order to get the toolkit, it may be beneficial to do so if you plan to share information mental health awareness with your business, clients, or family and friends. FYI: The toolkit “Memo” is where I got all the “Know the Facts” from
2. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Interested in hearing about treatment options, finding a support group or program, speaking out, or just becoming involved with NAMI? This is the site for you. Get easy to understand information about mental illness, educate yourself on programs and services available, and more. About NAMI: It is “the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.”
3. MentalHealth.gov | MentalHealth.gov “provides one-stop access to U.S. government mental health and mental health problems information.” Their focus is education and guidance about all things mental health. They pull in information from a number of other sources as well including National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).On MentalHealth.gov, you’ll find information about what to look for, how to talk about mental health, and how to get help.
We talk about how nutrition and exercise can lead to a healthy life. One overlooked aspect of a fully healthy life is mental health. Maybe you, your sister or brother, mom or dad, coworker, or friend need help, or maybe they need help getting help for someone else. Mental health is something we all must pay attention to. Find ways to relax that are healthy for your body, soul, and mind. Find ways to get involved to make this world a better place for all.
How will you get educated or get involved this month?