Studies show that 1 in 5 Mississippi youth ages 13 to 18 will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life. May is Mental Health Month, and although mental disorders and illnesses are different from mental health (more on that later), it’s important to raise awareness and support for anyone to get the help they need. Read on to learn more!
Defining Mental Health
The CDC defines mental health as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being,” and that it can impact how we feel, how we make decisions, and how we relate to others. Mental health is so important to our overall wellbeing, because it affects every aspect of life.
The Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness
Although the terms are used interchangeably, mental health and mental illness are not the same. Mental illness refers to certain diagnosable conditions that can seriously impact a person’s life.
These conditions are specific and may be caused from adverse life experiences or genetic conditions. Mental health, however, is something that everyone has on some level.
Making the distinction between mental health and mental illness is important, because it helps to accurately contextualize and validate what a person may be going through. It also helps with finding appropriate care and resources for improving that person’s health.
Tips for Improving Mental Health
Make the most out of Mental Health Month by following these tips:
- Practice stress awareness
- Stress can seriously impact your mental balance. Learning to recognize the signs of stress (such as fatigue, anxiety, or irritability) and how to manage your stress levels can not only help boost your mental wellness, but your physical wellness too.
- Get physical
- Staying active has been shown to improve your mood and lower anxiety.
- Do what you love
- Make time for your hobbies and passion projects.
- Get the facts
- If you’re feeling down or feel like you have an undiagnosed mental illness–talk to your doctor to learn more and to get help. You can use our clinic finder to locate a provider near you.
Where You Can Learn More
- USDA Toolkit: Resources for Stress Management (usda.gov)