National Mental Health Awareness Week begins soon. The recognition is a yearly event introducing an open dialog within the country to help break stigmas. The team at Integrative Healthcare Center has witnessed first-hand how the social stigmas attached to mental health issues can keep someone from seeking help until their issues have compounded and the problems become debilitating. And we know every one of us can do better as a community.
Why is Mental Health Awareness Important?
Mental health is neither a joke nor a punchline and requires immediate attention. You and everyone you know are feeling greater stress and anxiety as a by-product of life in the 21st century. We have more immediate access to news and information than at any previous point in human history, but it makes very few of us happier. National Mental Health Awareness Week exists so people know there’s nothing wrong with having a conversation about mental health, and there’s no shame in admitting to needing help.
Why is Mental Health So Difficult to Define?
A person’s mental state is as singular to them as their fingerprints. What provokes an emotional reaction in one person doesn’t even register on another person’s mental radar. The capacity to cope, disassociate, or otherwise react to outside stimuli differs from person to person, which makes it enormously difficult to define. Helping people recognize their mental suffering is as important as informing others who consider themselves “healthy” that others should live free of stigmas. You are far from alone if you feel anxious, depressed, manic, stressed, or mentally off balance. There is nothing wrong with talking to friends, family, and (almost especially) professionals.
Understanding the Foundations of Mental Illness
When starting a conversation about mental health, it’s important to understand what most frequently contributes to mental health issues. Contributors such as:
- Biology – Trauma and illness are often the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.
- Family/Genetic History – Genes and family play a significant role in the likelihood of mental challenges being a consideration.
- Prenatal Exposures – A pregnant woman can inadvertently become exposed to toxic chemicals or viruses that can ultimately impact her child’s mental health.
- Life Experiences – A history of abuse or relentless stress, especially during childhood, has proven to harm a person’s health.
- Loneliness and Isolation – People are more susceptible to depression when isolated with few or no friends. Feeling lonely all the time is a gateway to mental illness.
The National Mental Health Awareness Theme for 2023: Anxiety
Mental Health Awareness Week for 2023 examines how anxiety impacts people living with severe mental illness, what factors can trigger these debilitating responses, and how people everywhere can find and offer support.
Honestly, going through a list of reasons Americans may be anxious daily would only trigger people’s anxieties. The key takeaway is that if you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, there are people and programs and places like Integrative Healthcare Center that want to help you to prevent it from becoming a problem. And whether you are seeking mental health help or know someone who is, another goal of the national awareness recognition is to apply pressure to demand change and ensure that mental health improvement becomes a higher priority for everyone, from citizens to lawmakers.
Unlike the more trigger-worthy foundations of topics kicking off daily anxieties in the country, everyday anxieties are more mundane: pressure to succeed at work or school, for example, or bringing down your debt, or making it to your date on time and with no stains on your clothes. The problem is when momentary anxiety becomes overwhelming anxiety, one of the most common mental health issues experienced today.
There are no barriers or exclusions from being anxious, especially when someone is already living with severe mental illness. Such a co-morbidity makes even the most basic functions, like maintaining housing and employment, an almost insurmountable challenge.
Among the most important things to remember is that anxiety is normal. Anxiety is an emotion everyone feels from time to time. When the anxiety is constant without a rational origin, it becomes a mental health condition.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that approximately one-third of all Americans have experienced an anxiety disorder. A quarter of adults in Britain say they feel so much anxiety that it stops them from doing the things they want to do “some or all of the time.” The good news is that there are opportunities to manage anxiety and mental health better.
Ways to Participate in National Mental Health Awareness Week
- Research more – Mental health is a complex subject with decades of conflicting studies and dead-end theories. However, we live in an age where information is connected, and we learn faster than we can fail. Look for the latest and the most generally agreed-upon conclusions and be prepared to embrace the notion that you can’t know everything.
- Make some calls – You might start by talking about mental health with your family and friends. Just check on them and allow them to know how you are doing. Be honest without judgment if you think they could benefit from professional support. And if everyone agrees you could use the help, be grateful, and resist the impulse to be defensive.
- Speak with a therapist – National Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to sit down with a professional and assess whether you could benefit from long-term therapy. Access to experienced and objective advice can also help when talking to others about mental health. If you are uncertain about that first step, someone from Integrative Healthcare Center is ready to discuss your options.
Show your support. Let friends and family know you are open to the conversation by including #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek in your social media.
Integrative Healthcare Center: Founded Upon Mental Wellness
Better mental health begins at IHC. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, addiction, or need to reverse negative thought patterns, our evidence-based care for the mind and body is here for you.
Treatment options include adult psychiatric services, biofeedback, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS), and other wellness options. With flexible appointments and help navigating the process, we offer relief from depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, anger management, substance use disorder, and more.