May is for Mental Health

Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month. I currently teach Psychopathology to graduate students on their way to becoming mental health and school counselors. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of mental health disorders but we still have so far to go. From the earliest explanations of “humours” and “wandering womb” to demonic possession and witch craft, humans have struggled to understand differences in psychology and the reasons some individuals seem to deviate from what is considered the norm.

Even today, the explanations for why individuals struggle with mental health issues will differ depending on whether you’re asking someone who aligns with Freudian psychodynamic theory, or is a cognitive behaviorist, or a practitioner with a more postmodern approach.

I’ve always felt the “why” is slightly less important than the “what are we gonna do about it?”.

Why do we have a mental health awareness month? Because with awareness comes opportunities for education, and hopefully attention toward prevention, treatment, and a reduction in stigma. I’ve always been pretty open about my own struggles with depression, particularly after the birth of my second child, and anxiety - but not everyone feels comfortable sharing their story.

It’s my hope that by raising awareness of these struggles, people can connect - with one another and with treatment options - to overcome and triumph over mental health disorders.

Did you know?

1 in 5 American adults will experience mental illness in any given year? That is approximately 43.8 million people

1 in 25 will experience a mental disorder of such severity that it will impact their ability to work, attend school, or maintain social and family connections.

The leading mental health issues in the US are anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.

13% of kids ages 8-15 and 21% of kids ages 13-18 will experience severe mental illness in their lifetime

Mental health factors are significant causes of homelessness, job loss, incarceration, juvenile detention, school drop out, and suicide.

Fewer than half of adults with a mental health disorder will seek treatment for such. This number only goes down for members of underrepresented populations.

{From https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers }
{Mental Health Graphic accessed from: https://twitter.com/CounselingViews/status/1123629608425938945?s=20}