There is no health without mental health

Brownwood Bulletin
Center for Life Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This column is from the Center for Life Resources.

Mental health refers to our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and behave. It impacts our daily life in ways that include making decisions, how we connect with others, and how we handle stress, among other aspects.

Everyone has mental health. Your mental health deserves as much attention as your physical health does. You can have poor mental health without having a mental health diagnosis, just like you can be physically unhealthy without having a physical illness.

To be a completely healthy individual both mental and physical health need to be taken care of. Keep in mind factors like nutrition, sleep, and stress because these can contribute to poor mental health. Self-care is important. Find what works for you. Some suggestions are making sleep a priority, eating well balanced meals, staying hydrated, getting regular exercise, practicing gratitude, focusing on positivity and staying connected to friends and family that provide emotional support.

Mental illness is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. This can be range from mild, moderate, to severe impairment. Serious impairment substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022). Factors that contribute to mental illness include biological, family history, and life experiences such as trauma or abuse.

In 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 19.86% of adults experienced a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. Suicidal ideation continues to increase among adults in the U.S. 4.58% of adults report having serious thoughts of suicide, an increase of 664,000 people from last year’s dataset.

The national rate of suicidal ideation among adults has increased every year since 2011–2012. · A growing percentage of youth in the U.S. live with major depression. 15.08% of youth experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, a 1.24% increase from last year’s dataset.

Over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. have severe depression, and multiracial youth are at greatest risk. 10.6% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression (depression that severely affects functioning). The rate of severe depression was highest among youth who identified as more than one race, at 14.5% (more than one in every seven multiracial youth).

Over half of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 27 million adults in the U.S. who are going untreated. The percentage of adults with a mental illness who report unmet need for treatment has increased every year since 2011. In 2019, 24.7% of adults with a mental illness report an unmet need for treatment.

Over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Even in states with the greatest access, nearly one in three are going without treatment. In Texas, the bottom-ranked state for this indicator, nearly three-quarters of youth with depression did not receive mental health treatment (Mental Health America, 2022).

Warning signs to look for include decreased energy, isolation, loss of interest in normal activities, decreased or increased sleep or appetite, feelings of hopelessness, increase in substance use, feeling on edge, arguing with friends or family, severe mood swings that cause problems, hallucinations, or thoughts of harming yourself or others.

Mental health disorders can often feel disabling. Despite this fact many individuals suffer in silence instead of reaching out for help. This may be attributed to the stigma that comes along with mental health services. If you are struggling on your mental health journey please reach out and seek help. The average delay between the onset of symptoms and treatment is 11 years (Mental Health America, 2022).

You can reach out to your local mental health agency for support and guidance. At Center For Life Resources individuals are treated with acceptance and respect in order to remove that barrier. We treat you as the individual you are, not as your illness. References Mental Health America. (2022). The State of Mental Health in America | Mental Health America. National Institute of Mental Health. (2022, January). Mental Illness. -T