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National Mental Health Month 2020



Greetings! Did you know that it’s National Mental Health Month? If not, now you do! During the month of May all of our blogs will be focusing on Mental Health Awareness. We’ll be providing you with some facts and statistics about mental health, strategies to help maintain a healthy well-being, reaching out and how you can support others. Let’s start with an overview of what mental health is, its prevalence and who it affects. The Oxford Dictionary defines mental health as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” According to MentalHealth.gov, it “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”


Some contributing factors of mental health include:

  • Biological factors

  • Life experiences

  • Family history of mental health problems


Early warning signs include but are not limited to:

  • Sleeping / eating pattern disturbances

  • Isolation

  • Low energy

  • Hopelessness

  • Helplessness

  • Increased drug or alcohol use

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Cognitive distortions

  • Psychosis

  • Suicidal/Homicidal Ideation

  • Disruption to daily life


What are your chances of developing mental health issues? Well, according to a compilation of facts and statistics by Mental Health America (MHA) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in adults:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.

  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness.

  • 46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life. Half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.

  • Overall, there are approximately 44 million (18%) of Adults with mental illness in the U.S.

  • In Virginia, the prevalence of mental illness is about 18.78%. That’s around 1,195,000 Virginian citizens!


In youth they found:

  • 17 % of youth (6-17 years) experience a mental health disorder.

  • Over 2 million youth have depression with severe impairment.

  • 4.13% of youth in America reported having a substance use disorder in the past year.

  • 1.87% had an alcohol use disorder in the past year, while 3.07 percent had an illicit drug use disorder.

  • Virginia ranks 17 out of 51 for prevalence of mental health and access to care with lower numbers indicating lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care for youth.


For more statistics on mental health in America and/or prevalence by state, condition, or age, from MHA, click here or for Mental Health By the Numbers from NAMI, click here.

So, now that we know what mental health is, who it affects and its prevalence, why is it important that we talk about mental and spread awareness? As we can see, mental health affects everyone. It affects how we interact with each other and how we live our daily lives. Many people suffer from mental illness, yet they do not seek treatment due to various barriers, stigmatizations and/or personal biases. Even though mental illness is very prevalent in America, it still isn’t taken seriously in some parts of the U.S. Some insurances even lack proper coverage for treatment of mental illness.

So, with that being said, it’s up to us a community to spread awareness, provide important information and take care of one another. Freedom Support Services is open and accepting new clients for those of you who are interested or know someone who made need a little extra help. We offer individual, couple’s, and group counseling both in person at our Christiansburg location or via Telehealth. To schedule an intake appointment, call (540) 744-6162 for a free consultation, instant message us on Facebook or email us at contact@freedomsupportservices.com.

Next week we will be discussing strategies to help maintain a healthy well-being. Don’t forget to check out our other blogs here. If you’d like to be updated on new blog articles, join our mailing list here. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, like, comment and share our posts!

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