Mental Health Awareness Month, celebrated every May, is a nationally recognized month that aims to draw awareness to different mental illnesses and disorders. National Mental Health Awareness Month was initially started in 1949, and this upcoming May will mark 74 years of the United States recognizing and enacting efforts to encourage mental wellness in the lives of Americans.
Mental health has to do with one’s psychological and emotional well-being. Mental health conditions include mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, such as:
- Personality disorders
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders (ex: bipolar disorder)
- Psychotic disorders (ex: schizophrenia)
Mental health plays a significant role in an individual’s overall health. Building awareness of mental illness and conditions helps to de-stigmatize these issues and encourages people to seek the help they need.
Are You Suffering From Poor Mental Health?
Did you know, according to the CDC, over 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life? Mental health can fluctuate throughout one’s life and be triggered by genetic and circumstantial factors.
Taking the time to assess how you are really doing can help you determine what, if anything, might be affecting your mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month is a great time to reflect and prioritize feeling your best.
Each mental illness and disorder comes with its own set of specific signs and symptoms, and the following list is not exhaustive. Still, if you find yourself struggling with any of the following symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help:
- Trouble concentrating
- Inability to handle daily stressors
- Avoiding friends and social situations
- Changes in appetite and eating habits (excessive hunger or lack of appetite)
- Abuse of substances such as drugs or alcohol
- Feeling highly irritable for prolonged amounts of time
- Extreme mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping, feeling tired, or having low energy levels often
- Excessive worrying
- Excessive feelings of sadness, feeling “down” frequently
- Changes in sex drive
- Having trouble relating to others
- Having trouble perceiving reality
- Having suicidal thoughts
Helping Yourself and Those Around You
Start with You
The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to put your mental health first. Prioritizing and improving your mental health may seem like an enormous task at first, but there are little things you can do each day that can make a significant difference. To get started, try getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep, get some form of exercise daily, and make time to relax. These tips and many more are simple but effective ways to help improve your mental health.
If your mental health is something you do not feel like you can manage on your own, be sure to seek professional help. The Phoenix Recovery Center has a staff of mental health experts that will create a customized care plan for you and your unique needs.
Share Your Story
Hearing a first-hand account of one’s experience can help end the stigma surrounding mental health and is a great way to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month. If you are in a place where you feel comfortable sharing your journey, talking about it with your friends and family may inspire them to seek help if they need it– or share their story– helping end the taboo of mental health.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s mental well-being, reach out if you are in a place to do so.
- First, ask if they are doing alright. Avoid using “you” statements that can sound like you are blaming them, and instead, use “I” statements that show love and concern. Address the topic of mental health directly- sometimes beating around the bush can make the topic feel scary and taboo.
- Next, listen to them. Give your friend or family your full attention and show empathy. Do not interrupt them. Acknowledge their feelings even if you have never experienced something similar. If you have experienced something similar, share your story, but don’t make the conversation about you.
- Encourage them to get help, whether to talk to other friends and family or seek professional help. Ensure you check in periodically to let them know you are there for them.
- Note that your loved one may not want to open up about their struggles, and that is fine. Let them know you will be there for them if they decide to reach out.
- Ensure you set proper expectations to maintain your mental health and well-being. You won’t be able to fix your friend’s problem yourself, and it might be too much for you to handle on your own. Set boundaries with your friend about when you can and cannot be there for them. Sometimes connecting them to proper resources and/or inviting them to activities is all you can handle, and that is OK.
Put Your Mental Health First with The Phoenix Recovery Center
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we understand that managing your mental health can initially seem daunting, especially if you do not know where to start. That’s why we offer our clients various treatment options and resources so they can get the customized care they deserve. Our state-of-the-art facility provides inpatient and outpatient services and has the resources to get you in touch with the professionals you need with little to no wait times. Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by putting your mental health first with The Phoenix Recovery Center.
Call The Phoenix RC today at (801) 438-3185.