Mental Health Awareness
Updated May 17, 2019
Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault
Let Us Donate $50 To A Mental Health Organization Of Your Choice!
- Giveaway Overview:
During the month of Mental Health Awareness in May 2019, BetterHelp will be donating $50 to one of 20 different mental health organizations on behalf of anyone with a website that is willing to publish ORIGINAL content on their website that discusses a mental health & wellness topic.
The list of organizations, and instructions on how to participate are described below on our mental health awareness page here.
- Giveaway Period:
May 1 - May 31, 2019
- How To Participate: (4 Simple Steps)
1) Publish ORIGINAL content on your website that discusses ANYTHING related to a mental health & wellness related topic.
2) Link to at least ONE mental health resource within the content for the benefit of a reader looking for more information and/or professional help. (A few OPTIONAL resources from BetterHelp.com shown below)
a) FREE Mental Health & Wellness Resource:
2,800+ FREE Mental Health Related Articles Reviewed By Licensed Counselors - https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/
b)Licensed & Experienced Counseling & Support:
Online Therapy Explained - https://www.betterhelp.com/online-therapy/
Directory Of Counselors Sorted By Location - https://www.betterhelp.com/therapists/
3) Share the URL of your content on ANY social media platform using the hashtag #MonthOfMentalHealth.
4) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ALL of the following:
a) The URL of your published content as described above.
b) The URL OR a screenshot of your social media post using the #MonthOfMentalHealth hashtag.
- Mental Health Organizations:
Austism Self Advocacy - https://autisticadvocacy.org/
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation - https://www.bbrfoundation.org/
Bring Change to Mind - https://bringchange2mind.org/
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) - http://www.gmhc.org/
International Bipolar Foundation - https://ibpf.org/
Jed Foundation - http://jedfoundation.org/
Lockwood Animal Rescue Center - https://lockwoodarc.org/
Mental Health America - http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/
National Alliance on Mental Illness - https://www.nami.org/
National Council on Aging - https://www.ncoa.org
NEDA - https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
Project Sanctuary - https://projectsanctuary.us/
Project Semicolon - https://projectsemicolon.com/
RAD (referral aggregator database) Remedy - https://radremedy.org/
Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America - https://sardaa.org/
The Trevor Project - http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
To Write Love on Her Arms - https://twloha.com/
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors - http://www.taps.org/
Trans Lifeline - http://www.translifeline.org/
Treatment Advocacy Center - http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/
Mental Health Explained & It's Importance:
May is mental health awareness month. During these 30 days, at BetterHelp, we're going to focus on how we can decrease stigma and help people feel comfortable revealing that they're living with a mental illness. Every year, millions of Americans are treated for mental health conditions. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), One in five people in the United States lives with a significant mental illness, and during May, we're acknowledging what it's like to live with Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, PTSD, and more. Fighting stigma is part of the reality of living with a mental illness. We want to support those that live with these conditions at BetterHelp and their families by providing resources.
What Is Mental Health Awareness?
Mental health awareness means paying attention to how to manage our emotions and behavior. It means understanding if we have a mental health concern or mental illness, embracing who we are, loving and accepting ourselves. It also means seeking help in the form of therapy or medication if necessary. We want to support those who live with a mental illness and show that it's possible not only to live with a mental illness but to thrive. Since 1949, May has been known as mental health awareness month. In 2008, Harvard health said that anxiety has been associated with severe chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease and GI conditions. That's why we need to take our mental health seriously. It's essential to take care of not only your physical body but your mental health because if you're not well psychologically, you won't be well physically. Remember, the mind and body are integrated.
Why Mental Health Matters
Mental health is critical. Mental illnesses impact 19% of adults, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children every year. Those who struggle with mental health are around us, whether they're your neighbor, someone at your workplace, your friend, your family member, or even you. You don't know who is living with mental illness, because mental illness doesn't have a face. Treatment is life-changing for those with mental health conditions, but strangely enough, people that have mental illnesses often don't get treatment.
What Is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a condition that impacts the brain. It affects one's behavior, cause problems with cognitive functioning or emotional reasoning at times, and can be debilitating. Research indicates that mental health has a severe impact on physical health, as we talked about earlier on regarding anxiety. It doesn't exist in a vacuum - it affects your entire being.
Mental Health Conditions
Statistically, over 18% of adults manage anxiety disorders. These include OCD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), PTSD, and phobias. Anxiety disorders are genuine medical conditions and should be treated as such. Anxiety can take on many forms including intrusive thoughts, difficulty concentrating, excessive worrying, irrational fears, and panic-like symptoms, to name a few. Panic attacks can make a person feel as if they are going to die. People living with anxiety disorders might be told that their illness isn't severe, and that's not true. Having an anxiety disorder is as real as having any medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. Anxiety disorders are among some of the most common mental disorders in The United States.
Depression and bipolar disorder are under the heading of mood disorders and impact 10% of adults every year. Mood disorders mean that an individual has trouble with emotional regulation and difficulty navigating their life because their mood is low or perhaps, shifting. Shifts in mood can occur rapidly, multiple times a day, or less frequently - every few weeks or months, for example. An example of a change in mood could be that you experience hypomania or mania and then, it shifts to depression in some weeks. Mood disorders can be mild or severe. Some people live with dysthymia, which is a type of depression that feels like a long period of malaise. Some individuals cope with Major Depressive Disorder, which is a more severe form of the illness and can make a person feel incapacitated. People living with mood disorders can benefit from psychiatric medication to help regulate their emotional shifts, and keep them feeling balanced.
People who have personality disorders struggle with rigid thinking and have trouble maintaining interpersonal relationships. Their behavioral patterns are difficult to change but can be modified with the right therapy and medication if necessary. If someone with a personality disorder isn't receiving mental health treatment, their relationships and career can be affected adversely. Some examples of personality disorders include Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Psychotic disorders are a collection of mental health conditions that alter your perception of reality. Those individuals who have psychotic disorders struggle to differentiate what's real from what is a delusion. A person might see or hear things that aren't there. For a person with a psychotic disorder, it can be difficult to understand what does and does not exist. Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are examples of psychotic disorders.
One of the hardest things for people living with mental illness to deal with is stigma. The stigma of mental illness affects people in various ways, and much of the time people feel that they can't or shouldn't talk about living with their mental health condition. Many people live in the shadows. If presented with a box that says "do you have a disability?" when they're applying for jobs, many people won't check it because they don't want to disclose that they have a mental illness. Stigma can prevent people from reaching out for help and support. So, what can we do? How can we support those of us who live with a mental illness? The most important thing to do is to accept individuals for who they are and understand that not everyone's the same. We're all managing different life struggles, so you never know what someone is battling. The best thing to do is be supportive and understanding to the best of your ability. You don't necessarily need to understand to be empathetic when someone is struggling with a mental illness.
Here are some valuable resources for specific mental health concerns
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is an excellent resource for people with a mental illness or caregivers of someone with a mental illness. NAMI has over 500 local affiliates that educate people on how it is to live with various mental illnesses. You can look at NAMI's website and find a list of further mental health resources. There are NAMI branches all over the United States, and you can find one in your local area. Some organizations deal with particular issues in mental health. They have the NAMI help line you can call for further information, and if you're in a crisis 1-800-950-6264.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 - The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of crisis centers. The service provides free, confidential support to anyone in an emotional crisis. It's available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They want to save lives and help people avoid crisis-level situations.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America - On their site, ADAA cites that 60 million people are living with a mental illness. ADAA strives to help those living with anxiety, depression, and co-occurring disorders. ADAA wants to empower those who have a mental illness and their loved ones by providing much-needed resources. They educate people using scientifically researched theories and help people meet their individual needs.
NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) - Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among mental disorders. It's common for an eating disorder to co-occur with other mental health diagnoses such as depression, anxiety or OCD. If you know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder, you can refer them to NEDA for resources.
Don't make jokes about mental illness
When you make a joke saying: "the weather is so bipolar," it can be offensive to someone who lives with Bipolar Disorder and is trying to manage their condition. Panic attacks are real. Joking about anxiety or saying "I'm freaking out. I'm having a panic attack" if you've never had a panic attack is not okay. If you haven't had one, you don't know how it feels, and they can be extremely debilitating and cause you to feel terrible. Eradicating stigma is something that people who are passionate about raising awareness for mental illness strive for, and hopefully, we will get there one day. BetterHelp is dedicated to this cause. Stigma causes people to feel ashamed. They feel marked by something that makes them feel inferior or less than, but no one needs to feel that way. What can we do to fight against stigma?
Read about mental illness and educate yourself on the topic. Understand what depression means. Participate in suicide prevention and awareness. Be sure to check in with those around you, because people don't always necessarily reach out when they're struggling. You can volunteer for local mental health organizations, such as your local NAMI. You can look at nami.org to find places to volunteer. There are hashtags on social media to check out, such as #MHSM (mental health social media) which is a great one. If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal ideation, they can call the national suicide prevention lifeline (mentioned above) at 1-800-273-TALK, which is available 24/7.
You can volunteer time in your community, whether you start your organization or help out at an existing organization. Volunteers are vital to our communities because we can save lives and decrease stigma if we can work together. It's important to know about mental health issues. You can read about them online or get book recommendations from community health organizations such as NAMI or stopasuicide.org.
The cold hard statistics in the United States
- Anxiety affects 42 million people
- Depression impacts 62 million people
- Bipolar disorder affects 6.1 million people
- Schizophrenia affects 2.4 million people
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 3 million people, which is 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. There are 100 cases of autism diagnosed every day.
What's good about mental health awareness month?
As the statistics increase and mental health awareness grows, we start to see that nobody is immune. You either have a mental illness, or you know someone who does, and it's essential for us to fight against the stigma and continue to fight for affordable healthcare in our country. If we have affordable healthcare, everyone can access healthcare and can then obtain therapy and, if needed, psychiatry and medication. When people talk negatively about medication and shame others for taking medicine, it can stop people from getting the treatment that they need. In reality, the effects of letting your mental health condition go untreated are worse - if you don't do something, your health will suffer. If you don't treat your mental illness, the consequences can be dire. For example, untreated anxiety can result in chronic gastrointestinal issues or lead to heart disease.
Working In Mental Health
If you're motivated, you can pursue a career in the mental health field. You might pursue a career as a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. You could become active in public policy for health. With the right education, you can impact change surrounding how our society views people living with mental illness. If you want to work in the healthcare field, and you're passionate about helping people who have a mental illness, that's a winning combination. You don't necessarily have to be a health provider to help people with mental illness. Anyone can become a mental health advocate.
Mental Health Advocacy
Stigma perpetuates lies about mental illness, which is why it's essential to educate yourself about it. Read about mental health issues, and talk to people who live with mental disorders. Find out accurate information from people who live with mental health issues. Being a mental advocate isn't as complicated as it might seem. You can be active on social media and spread the word about why stigma is detrimental to people living with mental illness.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
It's important to take care of your mental health; you want to make sure that you're caring for your physical health as well as your mental well being. The most important thing is that it starts with you, and taking care of yourself. Rely on yourself for self-care. If you take care of yourself and value your mental health, then you can take care of others. It's okay not to be an activist every day. You need to take care of yourself first, and that's the most important thing. If you want to better yourself, it's essential to do so.
Your mental health begins with you. When you make an effort to understand yourself, your mental health will inevitably improve. And one way you can do this is to start going to therapy. Finding a therapist is a great way to better your mental health. Whether you see a therapist in your local area or choose to work with an online therapist here at BetterHelp, you matter. That's the theme of mental health awareness month is to take care of you. You want to live a life where you are nurturing yourself physically and emotionally. Therapy is an excellent place to learn about self-care and start implementing ways to take care of yourself in your life. Caring about your mental health might not come easily to you, but it's possible. Start by making the first step and contacting a therapist. You deserve to be well.