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. 

(Graphic Source: National Council for Mental Wellbeing)

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. 

You might be interested: Stress Awareness Month: Coping with post-covid stress and stress at work 

(Graphic Source: Mental Health America)

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

(Graphic Source: Mental Health America)

Additional Resources 

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. 

(Graphic Source: Mental Health America)

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. 

Author

  • Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. In 2017, she received her Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from Brookdale Community College. Now, she is working toward her Bachelor's in English Literature at Montclair State University. Along with literature, Victoria is interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies, which she is pursuing as a minor, focusing closely on women's issues, gender inequality, and LGBT issues. These studies provide her with a feminist lens, which influences her work from both fiction to academic writings.

By Victoria Arena

Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. In 2017, she received her Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from Brookdale Community College. Now, she is working toward her Bachelor's in English Literature at Montclair State University. Along with literature, Victoria is interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies, which she is pursuing as a minor, focusing closely on women's issues, gender inequality, and LGBT issues. These studies provide her with a feminist lens, which influences her work from both fiction to academic writings.

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