May is Mental Health Awareness month. This year’s message is centered on “togetherness,” because together we can raise awareness, fight the stigma, and expand support and care for those suffering from mental illness, helping them to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Each year millions of Americans must live with a mental illness. And now having spent more than two years living through a pandemic, all of the accompanying stress, isolation, and uncertainty have undoubtedly further burdened our society’s mental health. Struggling with mental health and its symptoms is unpleasant, and without access to the proper care and support, it can be debilitating… and even life-threatening.
Why mental health awareness matters
Mental health is our emotional and social well-being, and it is a very important part of our daily life. Impacting how we think, feel, and behave, our mental health influences our connection with others, decision-making, and ability to handle stress. It is a crucial part of our overall health, because when you’re mentally healthy, you can enjoy your life and the people in it, feel good about yourself, and properly deal with stress.
In other words, your mental health is actually just as important as your physical health, and something we should all care about and pay proper attention to.
How is my mental health?
It’s always good to check in with ourselves and take stock of our mental health. However, determining if you’re mentally healthy isn’t always simple. Symptoms from a mental health condition can occur suddenly—usually after a stressful event or big life change—or they can develop gradually over time. Further, almost everyone will experience a difficult situation in their life at some point, making it normal that your mental health may shift or fluctuate over time.
Also, most mental health conditions have many possible causes—“risk factors”—which can make identifying the source of your mental illness challenging. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you’ll develop a mental health condition in your life.
I have a mental health condition – what should I do?
If you’re living with a mental health condition, it’s normal to feel like no one understands what you’re going through. But there are millions of people out there who feel exactly like you and it is important that you remember 3 things:
1. You are not alone
2. Help is out there
3. Recovery is possible
That’s right—many people overcome their mental health challenges. So make it a priority to develop and implement positive habits every day, this way you support tools and resources already in place when you need them.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health condition, there are ways to get proper help. A good place to start is the National Institute of Mental Health, which offers many resources that can point you in the right direction for the help and support you need. Also, your local community pharmacist is always available and happy to talk to you about your mental health struggles and serve as a trusted care provider.
Not sure where your closest community pharmacy is located? Just check out our directory!