Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization. Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses, the realities of living with these conditions, and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. One of the goals of Mental Health Awareness Month is to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.
Each year there is a different theme, the theme of 2018’s Mental Health Month is Fitness #4Mind4Body. The focus is on increasing understanding of how the body’s various systems impact mental health based on recent research. From food and physical activity to the role of stress, there are many factors involved in personal wellness.
Understand the Connection, Then Pass on Your Knowledge
Set aside some time to understand this month’s topics and see how they can be incorporated into your own home or discussed within your community. From teaching your children about the importance of sleep and physical activity, and choosing healthy food options, to organizing awareness events in your community focused on mental health and physical wellness.
It’s important to learn about the effect of nutrition, stress, inflammation, physical activity, and sleep and their impact on mental performance and mood, overall mental health and the development of mental health disorders. Changing our own physical wellness habits and encouraging healthy habits in our youth are two ways we can try to decrease the prevalence of the mental health disorders that unhealthy factors often lead to. Learn more about Mental Health Month and download MHA’s May is Mental Health Month Toolkit.
Facts about Mental Health Conditions:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
- Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
- An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
- 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
Consequences Of Lack Of Treatment
- Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.
- Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
- Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
Find more facts about the prevalence and impact of mental illness.
- Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope
- Find Help & Treatment
- Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services’ list of providers