May is Mental Health Month. Let’s spend this month educating the public about mental health issues, decreasing stigma about mental illness and discussing ways to approach overall health and healing. Check out these mental health facts via the American Psychological Association:
- One in four Americans experiences a mental health disorder every year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
- Chronic stress can affect both our physical and psychological well-being by causing a variety of problems including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
- A 2009 poll by the American Psychological Association found that 75 percent of adults report experiencing moderate to high levels of stress (24 percent extreme, 51 percent moderate) and nearly half report that their stress has increased in the past year (42 percent).
- A 2008 survey by Harris Interactive and the American Psychological Association found that 25 percent of Americans report they do not have adequate access to mental health services and 44 percent either do not have mental health coverage or are not sure if they do.
- Research recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 41, No. 2) finds that 68 percent of Americans do not want someone with a mental illness marrying into their family and 58 percent do not want people with mental illness in their workplaces.
This year’s theme is Live Your Life Well. The emphasis is on raising awareness about the readily available and free tools that anyone can use to help them cope better and improve their well-being:
- Connect with others
- Stay positive
- Get physically active
- Help others
- Get enough sleep
- Create joy and satisfaction
- Eat well
- Take care of your spirit
- Deal better with hard times
- Get professional help if you need it
What would that look like to you, living your life well?
I truly believe that these 10 things can benefit everyone. I even incorporated quite a few of them in my own 7 Things You Can Do Right Now To Start Feeling Better. Please know that there may be reasons why it is not simple for you to do the things on the list. That is when #10 comes into play! Many folks I work with, for example those with complex PTSD or dissociative disorders, need professional support to learn how to use these tools. Don’t beat yourself up if it seems overwhelming! Start where you can and get help with the rest.
Want to know more about how you can participate in Mental Health Month?
- Follow #mhm2010 on Twitter
- Join the American Psychological Association’s Mental Health Month Blog Party on May 18