May 2021: Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S and abroad. Now is the perfect time to reduce the stigma around mental illness, assess your emotional well-being, and tend to your precious mind.
Mental Illness is Common and Increasing in Youth
Here are the latest statistics from the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) on the prevalence of mental illness in the United States https://nami.org/mhstats
- 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 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
As you can see from these statistics, mental illness is on the increase and especially alarming for youths and young adults.
Feeling “Not Good Enough”
More than ever we are bombarded by the media and convinced of the beliefs that we are lacking in some way e.g. not slim enough, attractive enough, intelligent enough, rich enough, etc.
These feelings of “less than” erode our self-esteem and lead us to fill the feelings of emptiness and lack of distractions to numb our psychological pain. Whether it is cell phone/online addiction, porn, alcohol, food, drugs, and workaholism.
How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better?
Compulsive behaviors are an effort, on our part to self-soothe. We are overwhelmed and stressed out by the ever-demanding responsibilities of life, with so many things vying for our attention at the same time.
Often there is not enough time in the day to fulfill these tasks; rather than acknowledging this reality, we somehow conclude that we are not “fast enough/quick enough”. Which further erodes our inner sense of well-being. No wonder we are all finding it challenging to cope with the demands of everyday life!
The Physical Symptoms of Stress
Often people are unaware of the stress they are experiencing until it manifests in physical symptoms in the body. This again speaks to how out of touch we are with our inner life. We are so busy comparing ourselves to others that we are not checking in and attending to our own well-being.
The mind/body connection is so strong that if you do not attend to your mental well-being, the body will slow you down and bring you to your (metaphorical) knees, through headaches, stomach issues, insomnia, cancer, etc.
In my private practice, people report ending up in the Emergency Room feeling like they were having a heart attack, only to be told after costly testing that thankfully their heart is fine but surprisingly what they experienced was a panic attack. It often takes something as frightening as this or a major life crisis for people to reach out for help.
Let’s Embrace Mental Well-Being By Normalizing Mental Health Issues
My hope is that together we can change how mental health is viewed so we can normalize and encourage each and every one of us to talk openly about our mental wellbeing and feel encouraged and empowered to seek professional services.
Seeking help and having the courage to disclose what’s truly going on is a strength, not a weakness. For example, if our arm is broken, we wouldn’t think twice about going to a Doctor. So why does society negatively view (stigmatize) someone who seeks mental health services? Why do we buy into the beliefs that we are less than when we have issues with mental health?
No one could have imagined the challenges we are ALL facing in 2021. We need to consider not only the physical and psychological effects of the coronavirus pandemic but also the political climate, the effects of technology, and social media. Never before have we been so bombarded with opposing information. We are all under tremendous stress.
What Can You Do to De-stress?
I’d like for you to take some time to consider your own mental well-being and what you can do to help yourself destress and take better care of the precious, unique individual that you are. (Regardless of what the media and your inner critic say!)
Remember my FREE 10-minute Mind Makeover on my website can help you de-stress or contact me at www.isobelmcgrath.com
Let’s work together to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health conversations. If you or anyone you know is struggling please take advantage of these free resources.
Help is available 24/7 through the following resources:
State Crisis Line: 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471)
National Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text TN to 741 741
National Association of Mental Illness 1-800-950-NAMI
Feel free to contact me at www.isobelmcgrath.com, tele: 904 806 8840.
To your health and happiness,
Isobel McGrath is a licensed International Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Certified Hypnotherapist located in St. Augustine, FL.
Isobel provides therapy, counseling, life coaching, and hypnosis in person at her St. Augustine Beach office, and through Telehealth. She is dedicated to providing exceptional, collaborative care, and truly cares about her clients and their well-being.
For more information about St. Augustine Therapist Isobel McGrath, please visit: Mindful-Options.com, IsobelMcGrath.com, and 30SecondsOfCalm.com