Happy Wellfie Wednesday and Happy World Mental Health Day! Today’s piece is brought to you by Diana (@DianaKlatt).
There is a mental health crisis, that up until recently, was silently suffered by many.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness in a given year.
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the US live with a serious mental illness.
Approximately 1 in 5 youths (13-18 years old) experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their lives.
Nearly 60% of adults and 50% of youths did not receive mental health services in the previous year.
These are not small numbers. Nor are these the true representation, it is likely that these are under-reported values due to the stigmas that exist around mental illnesses.
Mental health is frequently overlooked because it is an unseen ailment. Yet, it is one of the most impactful, long term, chronic conditions that can persist and even lead to detrimental events when gone untreated. A huge barrier to this is stigma. People often feel isolated, shame, discrimination, and stereotypes about their mental illness, but we need to increase talking about these things and decrease the stigma. It is perfectly normal to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Many people do not even recognize that they may have a mental illness that can be treated. Many societies and cultures teach and instill the concept of silently suffering. But there are ways to help these people and talking about mental illnesses and increasing awareness is just the start. It can be hard to seek help but the more someone realizes that they are not alone, the more likely they will feel comfortable seeking help.
Untreated mental illnesses can lead to serious, chronic medical conditions. Psychological and physical ailments can be intertwined, many in the form of traumas or chronic pain. Mental illnesses and their associated physical ailments frequently affect people’s ability to focus on their work. This can impact society much more than we suspect: financial loss to mental illness costs the US roughly $193 billion each year. For comparison, the cost to decrease stigma and raise awareness is $0. So while treating patients, talking to friends, collaborating with colleagues, and interacting with strangers, remember that they could be silently suffering and lend a hand, take note of their actions, listen to the way they describe things, and make sure they feel comfortable if they decided to talk with you.
If you are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
Sidenote: In case those numbers did not shock you, there is another population that experience mental health issues at an alarming rate: graduate students and those in higher academia. There is a six times higher prevalence of mental health issues in this population. If you are in the world of academia and looking for a community and resources, check out www.thephdepression.com
Please know that mental health is extremely important and something that should be called about. Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio, @Eric_in_AmERICa, @FreestylePhysio, @DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!