Sponsored - The following content is created on behalf of Western State Hospital and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about Western State Hospital, visit wsh.dbhds.virginia.gov.
Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States. For 2022′s May designation, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) is amplifying the message of “Together for Mental Health.”
We at Western State Hospital are working together with you to treat mental health conditions and bring more awareness about mental illnesses. Hospitals play an important role in providing behavioral health care and helping patients find resources available in their community.
At Western State Hospital, we see just how prevalent mental health conditions are. According to CDC and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), even if you aren’t struggling with a mental health condition, you likely know someone who has, or had, a mental illness. Research shows 1 in 5 people have a mental health condition. It’s estimated that 31% of Americans experience anxiety at some point in their lives and that 19 million people are living with depression. And those are just two mental health conditions out of dozens.
But, even if you aren’t experiencing a mental health condition, you can help someone who might be. The American Hospital Association (AHA) and its partners have shared how you can help someone who is struggling with mental illness just by using your words, through its People Matter, Words Matter campaign.
In talking about the campaign, the AHA says, “Words can transmit stigma. Studies have shown that people with psychiatric and/or substance use disorders often feel judged, outside and inside the health care system. This can lead them to avoid, delay or stop seeking treatment. The way we talk about people with a behavioral disorder can change lives – in either a positive or negative manner...People matter and the words we use to describe them or the disorders they have matter.”
So, before you say something, think about your words, because they matter.
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder, there are also many things you can do on your own to improve your mental health. Mindful meditation, for example, can improve your mood, your energy and your sleep. It can also help clear your mind of negative thoughts about yourself or your situation. Spending time doing things you love, like creating art or working on your car, can also help. Fresh air and exercise can produce feel good hormones, to keep your mind healthy each day.
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Month, and to learn more about mental health conditions and treatment options, check out these resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- Finding Mental Health services in Virginia (Virginia DBHDS)
- NAMI Mental Health Awareness Month page
- People Matter, Words Matter resources and posters from the AHA
- National Institute of Mental Health website
- CDC Mental Health webpage