May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, where the focus is on bringing tools, resources and education to the general public. This year’s theme continues last year’s theme with “Tools 2 Thrive.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the mental health of individuals across all ages and backgrounds. A year on, many are still struggling to cope with the unprecedented changes the pandemic has brought to our lives.
According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
Mental health among women and minority groups
For many, mental health issues still hold a stigma that often prevents individuals from getting the help they need. This stigma is often prevalent in racial and ethnic communities and certain cultural norms or beliefs sometimes create shame surrounding mental health issues. Additionally, systemic barriers often hinder access to mental health services, prolonging the suffering of individuals.
According to Mental Health America, within the Latinx/Hispanic community, over 10 million people reported suffering from a mental illness in the past year. However, Latinos are less likely to seek mental health treatment than the average population with only 55% of Hispanics seeking treatment for depressive episodes compared to 70% of white non-Hispanics.
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Women, especially mothers and caretakers, also saw an increase in mental health related issues this past year with 54% of mothers with children under the age of 18 reporting that worry or stress related to coronavirus has affected their mental health and three in four mothers characterize the impact as major or moderate according to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Mental health is just as important as one’s physical health and taking care of your mental health is important. Everyone at one point or another will likely struggle with a mental health issue. Just as you would see a doctor for a physical pain or illness, seeking help for your mental health is just as necessary.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, do not be afraid to seek out a professional.
Below are additional resources and tools to help you get started this Mental Health Awareness Month.