Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Facebook | Twitter | Home RSS

May is Mental Health Month

May 27, 2015
Estherville News

Dear Editor:

May is Mental Health Month; a time designated to learn more about the importance of our mental health and its effect on our daily living and functioning. Mental Health America reminds us that 1 in 5 Americans will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Fifty (50) percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life; half of these people will develop conditions by the age of 14.

We understand that in the first stages of mental health conditions, symptoms are subtle. Functioning may not change at home, work, or school at first; yet we may "know" something's different. As mental health issues continue in frequency and severity, these can cause an individual trouble keeping up with activities and responsibilities.

It's at the point where symptoms and behaviors become more severe and often take place at the same time that we realize there are significant disruptions in an individual's daily roles. Just like any medical condition (cancer, heart disease, or diabetes),by the time stage four comes, mental health conditions have the potential to cause persistent impairment with a person's life (unemployment, homelessness, incarceration) to the point of early death.

The lethal effects of untreated mental health conditions among rural Americans are striking. According to a study conducted by Cynthia Fontanella, Ph.D. at Ohio State University, rural Americans tend to pride themselves on strength and self-reliance but on the flip side, may struggle with social isolation that can contribute to feelings of depression and loneliness. It's also common in rural areas for fewer individuals to seek help due to farther distances to access professional behavioral healthcare, or due to the stigma of mental illness that can postpone care until symptoms are much worse.

What can we do to prevent or reduce the risks associated with mental health conditions? We can improve our knowledge about what it takes to promote better mental health (practicing healthy habits for rest, diet, exercise, purposeful activity etc.). We can learn through mental health education (i.e.Mental Health First Aid) how we, as members of our community, can recognize symptoms and encourage support and treatment in a timely manner. We can request integrated healthcare where primary physicians and behavioral health professionals work closely together to identify and treat multi-occurring medical and mental health conditions. We can more readily accept specialized telemedicine options where there are behavioral healthcare workforce shortages. We can join local chapters of NAMI, DBSA, and peer support networks to connect with local resources for assistance.

As we improve our awareness and understanding of mental health conditions, we have the potential to positively impact our overall health and well-being. Let's challenge ourselves to make a difference- one person at a time- to improve our awareness of mental health needs in our communities.


Kim Wilson

NAMI of NWIA Secretary



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web