Celebrating mental health throughout the month of May

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year's theme focuses on prevention and positive lifestyle choices which foster mental health.

Photo courtesy of Mental Health America

SAN DIEGO, May 3, 2016 — May is Mental Health Awareness month across America. Mental Health Awareness month was first observed in 1949.

Throughout the month of May, millions of Americans will participate in celebrations, events, walks and more which highlight the importance of mental health while helping to reduce any stigmas that create barriers to diagnosis and treatment.

This year’s theme is Live Your Life Well, which focuses on prevention and positive lifestyle choices which foster mental health.

Photo courtesy of Mental Health America
Mental Health Screening tools > Photo courtesy of Mental Health America

The number of Americans who suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime is staggering. Moreover, it continues to rise.

In a 2016 report, “Prevention and Early Intervention B4Stage4:  The State of Mental Health in America 2016” it is estimated that 18.1 percent of adults were reported to have a mental health issue last year.

This year, the report indicates that approximately 43.7 million adults have a mental health issue, with approximately 9 million adults, or 4 percent, having serious thoughts of suicide.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience a serious mental illness each year which limits their ability to perform basic functions and tasks at home and at work.


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A report published in samhsa.gov/2016, written by Paolo del Vecchio, estimates that the financial impact of poor mental health on the U.S. economy is estimated to cost approximately $105 billion in lost productivity, and nearly $200 billion each year in lost earnings.

There are a variety of mental health disorders and illnesses which are published in http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml, and represent some which are more commonly known.

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention Deficit disorders
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders
  • Schizophrenia

A mental health disorder may occur early or late in life and has the possibility of becoming ongoing or temporary depending upon its severity and access to proper treatment.

It is important to recognize any of the following warning signs which could signal that a mental health challenge might be developing.

  • High levels of worry and fear
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Overeating
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Substance abuse
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Withdrawal socially
  • Suicidal thoughts

Given the personal, social and economic impact created by the disability of people with untreated mental health disorders, it is imperative to seek immediate attention from a qualified mental health provider.

Do not delay seeking treatment out of fear or stigma.

The following contacts may provide direction to those seeking professional assistance.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255 (call 911 for an immediate emergency)

NAMI Helpline:  https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine

Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

To maintain the best possible mental health, or to get help getting back on track, Mental Health America offers the following tips on feeling better and growing stronger and more resilient.

  • Be certain to connect with other people
  • Stay positive
  • Get physically active
  • Help other people
  • Get enough sleep
  • Create joy
  • Eat well
  • Take care of spirit
  • Become more resilient
  • Seek professional help immediately

In a speech at the White House National Conference on Mental Health 2013 President Barack Obama said “Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help, and we need to see to it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have the same attitude when it comes to their mental health.”

Choosing to be happy and well is a gift and a right–choose mental health by celebrating Live Your Life Well throughout the month of May and the rest of your life.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 32 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2016 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare