Share The Health

Removing the Stigma: The Changing Culture of Mental Health

10-10-2019

Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness and talk about mental health issues.

What exactly is mental health? Our overall health and wellness are composed of both mental health and physical health. And mental health can refer to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Our mental health effects:

  • How we think, feel, and act
  • How we handle stress
  • How we interact with others
  • Our decisions and choices

It’s essential to think about mental health and treatment the same way we think about our physical health, treatment, and healing; that’s how we remove any stigma or misconceptions about mental health diagnosis and treatment.

How Common Is Mental Illness?

according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, within any given year, 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness. Talking about these statistics helps us as a society to know how prevalent mental illness is, and it helps those diagnosed to know they are not alone.

to know how prevalent mental illness is, and it helps those diagnosed to know they are not alone.

How Common Is Mental Illness?

More than 50 percent of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, within any given year, 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness. Talking about these statistics helps us as a society to know how prevalent mental illness is, and it helps those diagnosed to know they are not alone.

What Causes Mental Illness?

There are multiple factors, and a person’s mental health can change over time. Mental health can be impacted by the demands placed upon a person—especially when those demands exceed their resources and coping abilities. Economic hardship, long or strenuous work hours or a difficult time period such as caring for an ill relative are all stressful situations that can impact mental health. Some of the underlying risk factors for mental illness include:

  • Biological factors like genetics or chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Early adverse life experiences including trauma, or a history of abuse
  • Ongoing chronic medical conditions such as cancer
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Feelings of loneliness or isolation

How Are Mental and Physical Health Related?

Mental illness can actually trigger physical health issues and vice versa. For example, depression can increase the risk of conditions such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Conversely, chronic physical conditions such as cancer can increase the risk of mental illness.

This year, for World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization is focusing on suicide prevention. Suicide, often associated with mental illness, is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

What Can We Do to Prevent Mental Illness?

Frederick Regional Health System, along with many other health organizations, are promoting good mental health by sharing information including this article, encouraging open conversations, and supporting initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles. Examples include stress prevention programs in the workplace and programs aimed at reducing violence in our communities and homes.

What Are Additional Resources Available for Mental Illness?

  • If you feel depressed, overwhelmed by stress, or would like to talk about your mental health, ask for help from a healthcare professional. Frederick Health provides comprehensive primary care for the entire family. Primary Care is a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), which is an innovative model of primary care that is organized and evidence-based so you can get the highest level of patient care. PCMH can help you treat any aspect of your stress, improving your physical and mental health. If you don't have a primary care provider, or you're looking for a new one, call 240-215-6310 today to make an appointment with Primary Care.
  • Frederick Memorial Hospital offers both in-patient and outpatient behavioral health treatment.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.