Mental health awareness: it's time to talk.
Mental health is under attack. The World Health Organization found a 13% rise in mental health conditions between 2007 and 2017. Mental health problems cost the global economy $1 trillion each year.
What mental illnesses are becoming more prominent? What are different mental health problems like? How can someone receive help? Answer these questions and you can take simple steps to promote Americans' mental health.
Rising Rates of Mental Illnesses
An August 2020 study from the CDC found several troubling findings. More than 25% of Americans expressed having symptoms of anxiety in a June 2020 study. That's three times the rate that Americans reported in the second quarter of 2019.
24.3% of Americans said they experienced depression. In the second quarter of 2019, only 6.5% of Americans said the same thing.
Suicidal thoughts can occur independently from a mental illness. Yet 10.7% of Americans said they had contemplated suicide in the previous 30 days. That's more than twice the rate it was in 2019.
The pandemic is one reason why mental health problems are becoming more significant. Many people do not have access to mental health facilities due to their costs. Young people can encounter bullies and harassment on the internet, which can hurt their self-esteem.
The Complexity of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health uses the term, "any mental illness" (AMI), to refer to a mental disorder. A "serious mental illness" (SMI) is a mental disorder that interferes with a person's life in a profound fashion. Yet any mental illness can be serious, which makes treatment complicated.
Depression creates persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness, and boredom. Some people lose interest in things they previously liked to do, including work.
Depression is not a "bout of the blues." People with depression may be unable to get out of bed or focus on simple tasks. Depression can spark physical problems like headaches and indigestion.
Suicide can be a result of depression. But more people live with their depression than die from it. This makes awareness essential so they can get the help they need.
Anxiety is a natural way for a person to respond to stress. Symptoms of anxiety like an increased breathing rate can call someone's attention to a dangerous situation.
Anxiety becomes a problem when symptoms arise without an apparent cause. An individual may be performing a task and feel a panic attack coming on. They may need to do something important, but they can't because they feel anxious.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves constant and unrealistic worry. Someone may be unable to control their feelings without help.
Phobias count as anxiety disorders. A person may develop a significant fear of a particular object.
Their fear can cause them to avoid situations where they may encounter the object. Someone with claustrophobia may avoid going into conference rooms because they feel confined.
Mood disorders involve a person's emotional state. They can overlap with anxiety disorders, but doctors consider them to be separate conditions. Depression is one type of mood disorder.
Bipolar disorder involves mood swings. Someone falls into depression for a few months on end and then transitions into mania. They may feel excitable and irritable for no reason.
The intermittent explosive disorder is rare but troubling. A person becomes enraged, getting angry at minor inconveniences. The disorder can result in acts of violence and property damage.
Disparities in Mental Health
The 2020 CDC study found disparities within mental health statistics. Rates of mental health problems for all groups rose significantly.
But Black Americans reported higher rates of suicidal thoughts than white Americans. Hispanic Americans reported higher rates of anxiety and depression than non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic Asian people.
LGBTQ+ people have reported historically higher rates of mental health problems. A 2020 study revealed that more than 50% of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling more anxious or depressed due to the pandemic. Homophobia and transphobia discourage many people from receiving services.
Lower-income people also report having more mental health problems. A 2021 study found that having a higher income was associated with less psychological distress.
Mental health awareness is incomplete if it focuses on only one demographic. Raising awareness of mental health disparities allows Americans to combat mental health disorders and institutionalized prejudice.
There is no treatment that resolves all mental health problems. Every person with a problem needs to pursue individualized treatments. Becoming aware can help direct someone toward resources.
Talk therapy can help with many cases of depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. A person can sit down with a therapist and explore their thought patterns. They can find ones that contribute to their symptoms and then replace them with new ones.
But a person can also receive support inside their workspace. Their employer should give them accommodations, letting them take breaks if they feel overwhelmed. They can take medications that calm them down or help them focus.
Little things can go a long way. Wearing clothes with positive messages can help a person feel inspired and affirmed.
The Essentials of Mental Health Awareness
Mental health awareness relates to several important topics. The pandemic has separated millions of Americans from mental health resources. This has caused an uptick in depression and anxiety.
Living with a mental health problem isn't easy. Anxiety and mood disorders can limit someone's ability to work. Race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and class can impact how someone receives treatment.
But treatment is possible. Talk therapy and workplace accommodations can mitigate symptoms.
Work with others on mental health awareness. We at Rockledge Designs understand the importance of mental health awareness and are proud to donate 5% of our profits to mental health organizations nationwide.