Mental health is an important part of overall health & well-being and vital part of our lives. It includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
About 22.8% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2021 (57.8 million people). Covid-19 pandemic added to the increase of the cases. Now more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. Half of all mental health occur before a person turns 14 years old.
Mental illness is a real medical condition and scientifically proven. It is caused by a number of factors including biological, chemical imbalances, genetics, and environmental factors. Stressful or traumatic life events, childhood abuse or experiencing discrimination are also triggers to mental health crisis.
Physical health and mental health are closely linked. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), poor mental health increases the risk of long-lasting chronic physical conditions like heart disease, stroke, and cancer. On the other hand, long-lasting health conditions such as heart, kidney diseases, cancer and other diseases can cause or exacerbate mental illness.
Mental illness can be treated but not everyone is willing to take action and seek help. Most of the time the signs are ignored and misunderstood. In addition, there are many people do not acknowledge that mental illness exists. Cultural background can influence the understanding of mental illness and plays an important factor in someone’s willingness to seek help. In some cultures, it is shameful and considered a sign of weakness to say a member of your family has mental illness. They relate mental illness to craziness and unpredictable behavior. Even if they acknowledge it, they keep it private and are reluctant to seek professional help for the fear of stigma and discrimination of society and the fear of brining shame on the family.
Do not underestimate the power of the mind. It is important to understand mental illness and educate ourselves about mental health. It is important to
- Understand mental health. Educate yourself and others about mental illness including substance use disorders.
- Do not ignore the signs.
- Watch for changes in attitude and behavior of family members.
- Watch what you say and how you say it.
- Be supportive.
- Avoid stigma.
- Focus on the positive.
- Take action and seek professional help to keep your mental health at its best.