May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 1 in 5 US adults experiences a mental health disorder. In 2019, 19.2% of American adults received any mental health treatment.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
This year, Mental Health America—who started this awareness month in 1949—is going with the theme “tools 2 thrive.” This builds on the same theme from last year, providing resources to mitigate the mental health effects of COVID-19.
These effects have been profound. Between January and June 2019, 11% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. In December 2020, that number rose to 42%.
While the high rate of vaccinations in the US is worth hope, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health won’t disappear overnight. People may be coping with lasting trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles that require care. Clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School, Luana Marques—who has been studying the mental health effects of COVID-19—says, “I don’t think this is going to go back to baseline anytime soon.”
Stigma Prevents People From Seeking Help
It’s important to understand the mental health impacts of COVID-19, as well as the number of people who struggle with mental health even without a pandemic; it can help those with mental health disorders feel less alone and reduce stigma. A review of 144 studies found that the most common reason for not seeking therapy is stigma. Mental Health Awareness Month is about decreasing these barriers to treatment and giving people information that empowers them.
Some of the toolkits provided by Mental Health America this year are “adapting after trauma and stress,” “dealing with anger and frustration,” “processing big changes,” and “taking time for yourself.” These are all important as we come out of a long-lasting crisis. But Mental Health Awareness Month is also a reminder that mental health care and treatment is always important—year-round, every year.
If you are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a great life in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.