May is a mental health awareness month. Mental health awareness is an important ongoing effort of sharing personal experiences to decrease the stigma around mental health conditions and mental illnesses. There are many misconceptions about mental health due to which individuals often suffer in silence without availing treatments. It is important to communicate about the misconceptions and stigma regarding mental health and encourage those around us who are suffering. It is also important for friends, family, and caregivers to understand the impacts of mental health and to encourage those with mental illnesses to seek help, treatment, and support networks. There are many organizations like Mental Health America (MHA), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) etc., involved in organizing events like fundraising, community outreach and awareness. https://bit.ly/3nvsgzc and https://www.samhsa.gov/
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our social, psychological, and emotional well-being.
It determines how we handle stress, make choices, relate to others, and how we feel, think, behave, and act towards different daily life circumstances. That is why it is very important at every stage of life (i.e., childhood, adolescence, and adulthood).
Mental health in Arizona:
The common mental health disorders observed in Arizona include anxiety, depression, drug use and alcohol use. According to the Arizona Behavioral Health Workforce 2020 report, 19.24% of adult Arizonans face mental health issues, 4.43% had serious suicidal thoughts, 5.70% have alcohol use disorder, and 7.36% adult Arizonans are facing substance use disorder. 40% of Arizonans live in areas with shortage of mental health care facilities and professionals while 61% of adult Arizonans with mental health issues do not receive the treatment needed. This situation is more serious in rural Arizona because of factors like shortage of mental health professionals, stigma, travel distances, higher poverty levels, higher rate of uninsured individuals, etc. The Arizona Behavioral Health Workforce aims to work on mental health needs, coverage, and access all over the state of Arizona. https://bit.ly/42cKvJb
What are the types of mental health conditions?
There are different types of mental illness and about 3000 mental disorders recognized by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5) published by American Psychiatric Association. Check https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/quiz/index.htm if interested in testing your knowledge about mental health.
What are the symptoms of mental health illness/issues?
Different mental illnesses have different symptoms. For example,
- People with eating disorders have extreme dieting habits,
- People with psychosis may have the sign of hearing voices
- Feeling hopelessness after childbirth can be the sign of postnatal depression,
- Excessive fear or worry can be the sign of anxiety
- Low mood and lasting sadness can be the sign of depression
- Extreme and serious changes in thoughts, behaviors, and moods could be the sign of mental illness.
These changes can appear gradually or can be sudden. For further details check, https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for
What are the causes of mental health problems?
Mental illness can happen due to a mix of causes. Some of the factors that lead to mental illness are,
- Biological factors like genes or brain chemistry and how brain functions
- Life experiences like abuse or trauma
- Family history of mental health problems
- Medical conditions
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Early life environment
- Personality factors
How to maintain positive mental health?
Good mental health can be maintained by positive things like,
- Support from family friends and community
- Connecting to others
- Having strong sense of identity and culture
- Maintaining good physical health by eating healthy and exercising
- Reducing stress
- Being optimistic and positive
- developing coping skills to efficiently deal with problems in life
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
Are there any resources/information available for maintaining good mental health and well-being?
Here is a list of sources that can help in maintaining positive mental health and well-being.