Mental health matters, now more than ever before
Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States every May since 1949. It’s a time for us, as a nation, to come together and fight the stigma associated with mental health conditions and those who have them or seek treatment for them. Mental Health Month serves as a reminder that mental illness is common, is treatable, and is nothing to be ashamed of. This year during Mental Health Month we are reminding the more than 43 million American who have a mental illness: You are not alone and your mental health matters, now more than ever.
“Across the United States approximately one in five people may be experiencing the effects of a mental illness,” said Niki Grajewski, Centerstone Clinical Manager. “Here in Southern Illinois, as we battle the effects of poverty, generational trauma, community violence, and now social isolation, among other factors, it is more important than ever to acknowledge when people may be struggling, so we can intervene and assist”
So what exactly is mental health? Generally speaking, mental health is comprised of our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It’s all about how we think, feel, and act. Taking care of our mental health is vitally important because it can affect every aspect of our lives, from relationships with friends and family members to our productivity at work or school. Our mental wellbeing can be diminished by a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and more. These conditions vary widely in their severity, but at any level can have a negative impact on our lives.
“The negative effects of the symptoms of a mental illness can affect a child or adult in many different ways,” Grajewski said. “Children may be chronically depressed, but to a parent appear to be oppositional and ‘naughty’. Adults may suffer from anxiety, and the coping skills developed to assist with anxiety contribute to health problems, or even substance use. What we think, and how we feel, has a profound impact on our overall well being – physically, emotionally, and psychologically.”
Our mental health can also be negatively affected by certain situations we face in our lives. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health and mental illness have been brought to the forefront of our minds. The pandemic has drastically changed many aspects of our lives and has brought a great sense of worry, insecurity, and fear. No one has been left unaffected by COVID-19 and this is why it’s more important than ever to be attune to our mental health needs and make our mental wellbeing a priority.
You can easily show support for mental health and Mental Health Month by:
- Wear something green! The color green has long been used to represent Mental Health Month and it is a great way to show your support for the cause.
- Connect with friends, family, and other individuals and strike-up a positive dialogue about mental health and the importance of ending the stigma associated with mental illness.
- Learn more about mental health by utilizing information from reputable sources or by talking to a mental health professional about what they do.
- Tell your story! If you live with a mental health illness, sharing your story can be a powerful way to support others who may experiencing a similar situation.
- Reach out for help! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need advice on how to handle something happening in your life, mental health treatment can help! There are a variety of options out there and it can truly make a positive and long-lasting difference. Call 1-877-HOPE123 or visit centerstoneconnect.org to connect with Centerstone today!
Centerstone is a not-for-profit health care organization dedicated to delivering care that changes people’s lives. We provide mental health and substance use treatment, education and support to communities in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee and additionally offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities life skills development, employment and housing services. Nationally, we have specialized programs for service members, veterans and their loved ones, and develop employee assistance programs for businesses of all sizes. Our research institute improves behavioral healthcare through research and technology, and our foundation secures philanthropic resources to support our work. For more information, visit www.centerstone.org.