Millions of Americans quietly battle mental health issues each year, and this post aims to de-stigmatize this condition by encouraging open conversations as well as developing and implementing effective methods for treatment.
Over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition, and the rate of youth experiencing a mental health condition continues to rise. The rate of youth with Major Depressive Episode has increased from 11.93% to 12.63%.
1 in 5 Americans has experienced some form of mental illness, with one in 25 experiencing serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
More Americans are insured and accessing care, and hopefully, we can continue to see the effects of healthcare reform on the rate of Adults who are uninsured.
Furthermore, mental health workforce shortage remains, and many states saw some improvement in their individual to mental health provider ratio.
Suicide accounts for over 800,000 deaths globally each year, with over 41,000 in the U.S. alone, which has made it the second leading cause of death worldwide for those between 15 – 29-year-old.
The rate of mental health disorders is double for those who have been to war or lived through a major disaster.
People with a mental health issue are generally non-violent, and only about 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a serious mental illness.
Factors That Can Lead To Mental Illness
Many factors can lead to mental illness, include:
- physical illness or injury, and
- Traumatic life experiences.
Many people do not seek treatment for mental illness due to the associated stigma, and data showed that only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental illnesses receive treatment.
Treatment for mental health problems doesn’t only consist of prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Yoga, therapy, meditation, and holistic treatments can all help to ease symptoms.
Also, by addressing risk factors such as trauma, it is possible to prevent certain mental health disorders, especially in youngsters.
Improving mental health services is not as costly as some may think, as an investment of only $2-4 per capita would have a major impact on millions of lives.
Facts on Mental Health
- Each year, serious mental illnesses cost the U.S. almost $200 billion in lost retributions.
- 5% of adults in the U.S. who have had a problem with substance abuse also suffer from mental illness.
- 20% of youth have a mental health condition
- One in 10 young people has experienced a period of major depression.
- Members of the LGBTQ community are twice as likely as straight individuals to have a mental health disorder.
- 70-90% of people who seek proper treatment for mental health disorders witness a significant reduction in symptoms.
Ways To Improve Your Emotional and Mental Health
Place Value On Yourself And Take Care Of Your Body:
Treat yourself with respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, broaden your horizons, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or learn another language, etc…
Taking care of yourself physically will go a long way to improve your mental health. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, avoid cigarettes, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students.
Surround Yourself With Good People
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier (emotionally) than those who lack such support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, and volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. We are social beings, and you’ll feel good about meeting new people and doing something tangible to help someone in need.
Learn How To Deal With Stress
Stress is a part of life. Research has shown that laughter can boost your immune system, ease the pain, relax your body and reduce stress. Make leisure time a priority, and do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them.
Practice good coping skills, do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, play with your pet or try journal writing as a stress reducer.
Also, remember that playing is an emotional and mental health necessity, so always smile and see the humor in life.
Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to think about the things you’re grateful for. Pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful, and make time for contemplation and appreciation.
Also, learn to lessen the Fear of the Unknown, and if you have a problem, learn whatever you can about the issue or the health condition you’re facing. The more you know, the less you will be afraid of what might happen.
Get Enough Sleep to Maintain Energy and Increase Productivity
People who get a good night’s sleep wake up with more energy and tend to be more productive, and if you are overly tired, every task and responsibility will feel like big ones.
The mind and the body are inherently linked, and when you improve your physical health, you will automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being.
Physical activity releases endorphins. Endorphins are powerful chemicals that lift your mood and provide added energy. Regular exercise or activity can have a major positive impact on mental and emotional health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.
Even modest amounts of physical activity can make a big difference to your mental and emotional health.
Engage in Good Sex
Intimacy within a committed relationship has all sorts of emotional benefits and can help make you feel good about yourself. Having Sex helps Build Confidence and Self-Worth, and boost self-esteem.
Figure out a schedule that works for you and your trusted partner, and you can read more on “how much sex is healthy”.
Eat and Drink Healthily and in Moderation
You can eat what you want and enjoy it as long as you eat smaller portions and get regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your physical and your emotional health, and if you consume alcohol, you must indulge in extreme moderation.
Foods that adversely affect mood include; caffeine, alcohol, Trans fats, foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones, sugary snacks, refined carbs, and fried foods.
On the other hand, foods that boost mood include; fatty fish rich in Omega-3s (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna), nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts), avocados, flaxseed, beans, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Brussel’s sprouts, and fresh fruit such as blueberries
Care For A Pet
Pets are a responsibility, and caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There’s no love quite as unconditional as the love a healthy smart pet can give. Pets can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.
Talk to a Professional
You’d go to a doctor or a hospital when you are physically sick, so why would you ignore your mental health, emotions, and feeling, if they too feel broken or off-center? If you are concerned about yourself, always seek advice from a professional, who will be more than ready to listen.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that most people living with mental illness still lead productive lives despite their challenges.
In summary, the following self-help techniques can make a big difference in helping you overcome some mental health conditions:
- Learn about mental health
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Learn how to control your breathing.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
- Connect face-to-face with family and friends.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough restful sleep.