May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while many people hear or read references to it, who does it apply to? It can be easy to dismiss for those who may not have, or acknowledge that they have, a mental health condition. However, in the general U.S. population, 52.9 million people, or 21 percent, have a diagnosed mental health condition. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, half of all individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) also have co-occurring “mild to moderate” mental illness—which amounts to over 17 million U.S. adults. Additionally, 5.7 million individuals have “serious mental illness” and a co-occurring SUD.

This month is relevant for everyone because mental health is just as important as physical health but is more often overlooked. What is unique about having mental health issues is that the very filter, our brains, that assesses our state of mind is the thing that is afflicted. This differs from medical conditions in that physical pain, discomfort and diagnosis can be objectively viewed by individuals as the afflicted body part or organ is not always their brain. Mental health is something that can be addressed and maintained in order to prevent issues or to address existing conditions. This month asks individuals to increase their awareness of their own mental health, which can include mood, sleep, wellness activities, functioning, focus, and social functioning.

The term “emotional sobriety” was explored by Tian Dayton in her book Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance and can be likened to mental health recovery. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 66.5 percent of individuals with mental health issues consider themselves to be “in recovery.” Emotional sobriety can include the ability to:

Another important component of mental health is what individuals “feed” their minds. We live in a world that often centers around technology and a rapid exchange of information. This is a time to evaluate what is allowed into one’s consciousness. Some questions to ask are:

These questions are meant to prompt digital mindfulness and to create some reasonable goals there is notable impact in any of these area. Hopefully, the month of May will bloom a spring of new beginnings and internal growth…for everyone!

References

Dayton, Tian. Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance. Florida: Health Communication, Inc., (2007).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). https://www.samhsa.gov/data/release/2021-national-survey-drug-use-and-health-nsduh-releases.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Mental Health Awareness Toolkit. https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health-awareness-month/toolkit

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Why Mental Health Awareness Month Matters

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29.05.2024

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while many people hear or read references to it, who does it apply to? It can be easy to dismiss for those who may not have, or acknowledge that they have, a mental health condition. However, in the general U.S. population, 52.9 million people, or 21 percent, have a diagnosed mental health condition. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, half of all individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) also have co-occurring “mild to moderate” mental illness—which amounts to over 17 million U.S. adults. Additionally, 5.7 million individuals have “serious mental illness” and a co-occurring SUD.

This month is relevant for everyone because mental health is just as important as physical health but is more often overlooked. What is unique........

© Psychology Today


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