Mental Health Awareness Month was created over 65 years ago by Mental Health America (MHA) to educate and spread awareness about this topic. This month, we are encouraging everyone to provide support for the millions of Americans currently living with mental health conditions.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines a mental health condition as a “health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning.” These conditions do not necessarily result from one occurrence. Most often genetics, environment, and lifestyle all have an influence on whether or not someone develops a mental health condition. Early detection and treatment are crucial to improve outcomes and positively affect one’s life.

Mental health is a very important part of our general health and well-being. Much like heart disease or diabetes, some mental health conditions can be prevented with early detection. All mental health conditions can be treated. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage you to fight the stigma surrounding mental health conditions. Join MHA’s “B4Stage4” campaign to support those living with mental health illnesses.

Did You Know?

  • 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition every year.
  • 50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24 (NAMI).
  • This year, MHA is utilizing the theme “B4Stage4”, to emphasize the importance of early detection.
  • A 300 pound bell serves as MHA’s symbol for freedom from the chains of mental illness.

Stages of a Mental Health Condition

Stage 1: a person begins to show symptoms of a mental health condition, but is still able to maintain the ability to function at home

Stage 2: usually becomes obvious that something is wrong. A person’s symptoms may become stronger and last longer or new symptoms may start appearing

Stage 3: symptoms have continued to increase in severity. A person may feel as though they are losing control of their life

Stage 4: the combination of extreme, prolonged and persistent symptoms and impairment often results in development of other health conditions

Learn more about the MHA B4Stage4 campaign

Sources: National Institutes of Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health Association, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.