During the first week of October, we recognize Mental Illness Awareness Week; however, we should be recognizing Mental Illness Awareness every week. Check out the stats below to refresh yourself on what’s happening in our world with mental health. These findings reference studies that were taken in the U.S.
- 64 percent of youth with depression do not receive any treatment.
- 2016 Report states: 18.53% of adults in America reported suffering from a mental illness, a slight increase in percentage from last year (18.19%).
- The percentage of adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide is 3.89%. The estimated number of adults with serious suicidal thoughts equal more than 9 million individuals.
The graph below helps to put things into a better perspective just in case these statistics don’t already provide enough evidence to show that there is a huge need for Mental Health services to be made readily available for our average citizens. I say, average citizen, because it doesn’t take a crazy person to develop a mental illness, it takes a normal, regular person. It can truly happen to anyone.
Many of us walk through life feeling like we are exempt from Mental Illness just because we are who we are. Just because you are a professional (insert job title) doesn’t keep you safe from developing a mental illness. Just because you are religious or practice your spirituality regularly doesn’t excuse you from issues related to your mental health. To be honest, we are all at risk. We live in a world that is capable of attacking us at our innermost being, and this is why Mental Illness Awareness Week should matter to you.
I first started really paying attention to mental health when I was in my senior year of high school. One of my electives was Intro to Psych, and it was this class that laid the foundation and shaped my future as a therapist. Prior to this class, I lacked a lot, and that is truly the understatement of the century.
- I lacked any real understanding of mental health and one’s awareness of their mind.
- I lacked direction for my future as a professional.
- I lacked truth about how mental health is connected to every aspect of life.
- I lacked education in the field of psychology and counseling.
- And most importantly, I lacked the truth that we are just as (if not more) responsible for our mental health as we are for our spiritual and physical health.
This week, I challenge you to open your mind and explore what’s in it. Just sit in your thoughts and experience them. Maybe you can journal about them and try to, later on, decipher what they mean. But just take some time this week to become aware of your mental health and well-being. Once you are aware of the state of your mind, choose your next step. If you like where you are, you can probably keep doing what you’re doing and just add in a little extra self-care. If you don’t like where you are, then take action. Talk to someone. Research your thoughts and feelings, and love yourself by taking care of your mind and getting help or guidance if you feel it’s necessary.
– the Wife