Mental Health 

Mental health issues have become increasingly prevalent in adolescents throughout the last couple of decades. It is reported by the National Alliance on Mental Health that about 1 in 6 U.S. children (aged 6-17) experiences a mental health disorder each year. Not to mention that half of mental health disorders begin before the age of 14. So with such a high rate of mental health disorders and illness, why is that many are so disconcerted by mental health and it’s importance? 

What is it? 

So what even is mental health, and why does it matter? The term “mental health” applies to our emotional and psychological well being, as well as our social well-being. As the term suggests, mental health affects our thoughts, acts, and feelings, but don’t be fooled, mental health not only has a heavy impact on our thoughts but also on our choices and how we react to things and people around us. Mental health is not the same as mental illness, but it does still have an impact on every other aspect of your health.  This is why good mental health is so important, it helps build a healthy self-esteem, stay confident, manage stress, have good familial relationships, etc.. Good mental health does not mean you have to be happy all the time but instead relates to how you cope with and deal with the issues and problems going on in your life. 

How does mental illness affect other aspects of health?

Poor mental health affects your physical health just as much as it affects your mental and emotional well-being. Poor mental health can lead to a higher risk of metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, and substance use disorder. People with schizophrenia have 2x the risk of dying from heart disease and 3x the rate of dying from a respiratory disease. Good ways to combat this are exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking.

Can we prevent it?

Sadly, even with good mental health, mental health disorders can’t be prevented. Mental illness can affect anyone. It can be genetic, deal with your brain chemistry, or even date as far back as your time in the womb. Though they can’t be prevented, they can still be dealt with and battled. Being aware of the warning signs of mental illness is a big part of it already. If you suspect you are suffering from a mental health disorder, seek help or talk openly with someone you trust. Even with mental illness, you can still fight back. Above all remember to take care of yourself and remember you are never alone, and you will get through it!

Who and how many does it affect?

Mental health issues can affect anyone. Mental illness knows no prejudice children, and adults of all ages are affected every year. In 2018, about  7.7 million youth experienced a mental health disorder and 47.6 million adults experienced a mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the most common ones were a Major Depressive Episode, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, OCD, and Borderline personality disorder. Mental Illness affects millions and millions of people and those around them.  This is why it is so important to seek help.

Suicide and treatment rates:

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 in the United States. The national suicide rate has increased by about 31% since the year 2001, and 90% of suicide victims showed signs of mental issues. This gruesome number is probably the most important reason for seeking treatment. Only about 50% of U.S adolescents aged 6-17 received treatment for their mental health disorders. So I suggest seeking treatment, but remember you can’t be forced, or force anyone else into treatment. Just never stop supporting those who need your help.

Spreading awareness

So as you can see, mental health is a fundamental part of our being. Whether it is good or bad, it still affects us greatly. So remember to spread awareness on the importance of mental health, who knows how many lives you’ll save.

Works Cited

Brown, David, and Nick Triggle. “Mental Health: 10 Charts on the Scale of the Problem.” BBC News, BBC, 4 Dec. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/health-41125009.

Canadian Mental Health Association. “What’s the Difference between Mental Health and Mental Illness?” What’s the Difference between Mental Health and Mental Illness? | Here to Help, www.heretohelp.bc.ca/q-and-a/whats-the-difference-between-mental-health-and-mental-illness.

“Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Apr. 2019, www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html.

Department of Health & Human Services. “Relationships, Family and Mental Health.” Better Health Channel, Department of Health & Human Services, 18 Sept. 2015, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/relationships-family-and-mental-health.

“Mental Health Myths and Facts.” Mental Health Myths and Facts | MentalHealth.gov, www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts.

“Mental Health in America – Youth Data: Mental Health America.” Mental Health in America – Youth Data | Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/issues/mental-health-america-youth-data.

“Mental Illness.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 June 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968.

“NAMI.” NAMI, www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers.

“What Is Good Mental Health?” CMHA Toronto, toronto.cmha.ca/mental-health/what-is-good-mental-health.