During the month of May, organizations and communities around the country will celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. Every year throughout America, millions of people face the difficulty of living with a mental illness or mental health condition. Mental Health Awareness Month is a platform that attempts to raise awareness about mental health issues, educate the public on mental illness, and break the stigma often associated with mental health and mental illness. Mental Health Awareness Month is also vitally important to help individuals recognize that mental health is an essential component to one’s overall health and wellness, that resources are available for those suffering and seeking help, and that mental illnesses and mental health conditions are treatable.
Theme of Mental Health Awareness Month 2021
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2021 is “Tools 2 Thrive.” Throughout the month of May, state organizations, community organizations, treatment programs, and healthcare and hospital systems will create awareness, education, and outreach initiatives to help break the stigma of mental health and mental illness. The 2021 theme of “Tools 2 Thrive” will help support these initiatives by providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation.
While the stigma of mental health and mental illness is still very prevalent throughout society, there are some important facts and figures that may be helpful in understanding how common mental health issues are throughout America.
Mental Health Statistics in America
- 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience or suffer from at least one mental health issues or mental illness each year
- In 2019, 51.5 million people in the United States experienced a mental health disorder or mental illness
- 1 in 20 adults in the United States experience what is known as a serious mental illness (SMI) each year. A Serious Mental Illness is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one of more major life activities
- In 2019, 9.5 million Americans experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness
- 1 in 6 youths in the United States, ages 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 ages 1-34
Common Forms of Mental Health Issues in America
- Anxiety and anxiety disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective disorder
Additionally, many individuals that suffer from mental health issues or a mental illness also deal with addiction, substance use disorder, or trauma.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, resources to help those coping with mental illness and mental health conditions will be available, including treatment resources, community resources, and educational resources. Understanding that mental health conditions are a common issue amongst millions of Americans, that many individuals suffer from mental illness and mental health conditions, and that resources and help are available is vital in both breaking the stigma and overcoming barriers that exist for individuals seeking help.
Mental Health Awareness Month in 2021 may be even more important than ever, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created rising numbers of Americans suffering from mental health concerns. The last 12+ months of fear, panic, isolation and uncertainly have caused a rising wave of mental health crises in communities throughout America, alongside rising rates of suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol use and abuse, addiction, and both fatal and non-fatal overdoses. Therefore, the tools and resources available throughout May can go a long way in helping someone understand that they are not alone, that treatment, help, and support are available, that recovery is possible, and that they can have hope to achieve healing, health, and wellness.
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