In the past year, millions of people have uncovered new mental health conditions and millions more have seen their existing conditions get worse. Even though there is more open discussion about mental health than ever before, it is important to recognize that many people will not receive resources they need. This could be due to something simple like not being aware of resources that are available or something more complex like stigma or being part of a marginalized or underserved community. Mental health conditions are more common than you may think. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year (1), and 46% of Americans will have a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life (and half of those people will develop them before the age of 14)(2). It’s easy to talk about mental health, but it’s not always easy to handle problems when they arise.
May is Mental Health Month, and this year May 20th has been designated as the first Mental Health Action Day. Often, the hardest action we can take on our mental health journey is the very first one – reaching out for the first time to a friend, walking into the first support group meeting, finding a therapist or calling a support line. Mental Health Action Day is a day to take the first action to get mental health support – whether for yourself, your loved ones or for all by advocating for systemic changes to remove the stigma around mental health.
If you aren’t sure what you are feeling is tied to mental health, Mental Health America has private, anonymous, online screening tools you can use to help determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. The National Alliance of Mental Health Massachusetts has a ton of resources for you, from help with navigating a mental health crisis to legal resources to help with finding peer support. You are not alone and support is just a click or phone call away.
Written by Adriene Worthington, RDN, LDN