May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. This was established in 1949 to strengthen an understanding of the importance of mental well-being. It is time to recognize and praise recovery from mental illness for those inflicted with mental illness. Prevention and treatments can work for people. It is an effective way to help people recover from mental disorders and to live a full, and productive life. Unfortunately, in 2022 there is still a negative stigma surrounding mental illness. People are thought to be crazy, incompetent, or dangerous. This is a false understanding of mental illness, which this month is meant to alleviate and correct.

Over the past two decades, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and others within the US Department of Health and Human Services have collaborated to increase the importance of comprehending the prevention and treatment of mental health issues. There have been effective efforts to raise awareness regarding the significance of mental health and encourage acceptance, support, prevention, and recovery from mental health conditions which include but are not limited to the following:

Congress provided substantial behavioral health workforce investments in 2022, which included $225 million for behavioral health professionals and paraprofessional education.

SAMHSA supports the development of a Behavioral Health Workforce tracker, which is a new database of over 1 million behavioral health providers. This tracker offers users a visual of available behavioral health providers by geography, provider type, and Medicaid acceptance status.

It would be false to say that the United States has not failed to correct the misunderstanding of mental illness and help those suffering for the past several decades, but changes are being implemented now. The current administration in the United States remains dedicated to addressing the behavioral health dilemma people have been faced with and strengthening the mental health and well-being of all Americans. It has been acknowledged mental health challenges intensified drastically due to the COVID pandemic, including substance abuse, youth mental health, and suicide.

In March 2022, President Biden signed the Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law. This act will invest $135 million over 3 years towards improving mental health in healthcare providers, including suicide prevention efforts.

Our mental health refers to our emotional and social well-being. This can impact the way we think, feel, and behave, which can influence how we connect with others, decisions making, tolerate stress, and numerous other aspects of our daily life. We all focus our attention heavily on our physical health, which is important, but our mental health is just as important and often neglected.

Mental health is crucial for everyone. Taking care of ourselves is vital to prevent mental health from declining. Circumstances such as nutrition and gut health, stress, sleep, relationships, trauma, and much more can produce further poor mental health. While our mental health is strong and healthy, we can practice and learn coping skills to ensure we can handle difficult situations when they occur because we know they can happen at any time.

A mental health condition or mental illness is referring to a set of symptoms recognized by the mental health community. Individuals with a mental illness or condition encounter changes in mood, thinking, and or behavior. This can be extreme and unexpected for some. For others, it can mean they are unable to think clearly and avoid friends, family, and enjoyable activities. Unfortunately, some may hear voices that others cannot hear. For someone to be diagnosed, their changes in thinking and emotions must severely harm their ability to do the things they want to do. It does not matter what kind of mental health condition a person endures because the possibility to recover is possible.

There are many contributing factors to mental health problems. It is extremely likely for many people to have a complex combination of factors. Everyone is different, so some may be much more deeply impacted by certain things than another person would be. The following factors can result in a period of poor mental health:

Child abuse, trauma, or neglect.

Social isolation or loneliness.

Experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism.

Social disadvantage, poverty, or debt.

Bereavement (loss of someone close to you).

Severe or long-term stress.

Living with a long-term health condition.

Unemployment or loss of a job.

Homelessness or poor housing.

Drug and alcohol abuse.

Domestic violence, bullying, or other abuse in adult life.

Significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, experiencing a serious incident where you feared for your life, or being a victim of a violent crime.

Various physical causes such as a head injury or neurological conditions.

I plan to do a second post about treatments for mental health conditions because I did not want to make this post too long. One important thing to mention is trying to understand and support those with mental health conditions is going to be much more helpful than judging the person. Everyone around the world, whether they have a mental health condition or not deserves kind treatment and understanding. With the negative stigma people with mental illness face currently, they deserve compassion because we never know what will push them too far.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope the first part of my Mental Health Awareness post was interesting and provided you with a slightly clearer understanding. Life is hard enough already without judging an innocent person battling with a mental health issue, but we need to try to understand how challenging it must be for them. We might not understand the illness, but chances are it is confusing for them as well. I hope you are enjoying a relaxing and safe weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa