When you walk into a room, you can observe people on the surface. You can see tired eyes, a smile or frown, and maybe hear a sneeze or a cough. What is not always apparent is mental state. Mental state cannot be measured objectively, like blood pressure or weight. For these reasons and others, mental health is often under-recognized, un-diagnosed, and even stigmatized in today’s society.

This month and throughout the year, we strive to promote awareness and recognize the presence of mental health in our world. Last year, Mental Health America celebrated B4Stage4, educating people about the different stages of mental illness and encouraging all to reach out before stage 4 (the most severe stage). This year, their theme is “Sharing What #mentalillnessfeelslike,” asking you to speak up and share your view on mental health. Let’s work together to reduce the stigma around mental illness this month, and next!

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is also asking for your story and says, “You are not alone.” Although we should always be aware of mental health and its importance, this month gives us a time to come together, and be strong. Living with mental illness can be difficult for all those affected, including family and friends. First steps are to accept your thoughts and feelings, reach out if you are in need, and establish a support network. There is help at every turn.

Speak with your HR department about Employee Assistance Programs that can offer guidance and resources to assist in your path to well-being.

Mental Health Numbers:

  • 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness (NAMI)
  • 16 million American adults live with major depression (MDD)
  • Over half of all substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year
  • US suicide rate increased 24% between 1999 and 2014 (CDC)

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, World Health Organization, Good Morning America, Huffington Post, 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.