Wellfie Wednesday Tip #145: Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! We’re back!! We apologize, but the Wellfie Crew ended up taking a little hiatus the last few weeks because life and other things sometimes get the best of us, and THAT’S OKAY! Which actually goes well with this week’s topic, brought to you by Diana (@DianaKlatt), on Mental Health.

Mental health and wellness are important for not only individual health but for society as a whole. So why then do we still have such drastic numbers around untreated mental health issues? Stigma.

One of the most important things is that we need to stop treating mental health illnesses as something that you can just “get over.” Do we refer to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, like this? (Maybe diabetes wasn’t the best example because this is also highly stigmatized.) 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.

So what can we do to help? We need to recognize that while discussing the complicated nature of mental health may be common for those working in health and wellness, that this is not the norm for most people. Many people find it difficult to discuss their mental health and how they are feeling in their professional and personal lives. We can help by discussing the normalcy more, by giving people the space to talk about how they’re feeling, and to lead by example. We cannot change the way society treats mental health alone, it is a team effort of helping those that live with mental health ailments know that they are not alone and to increase acceptance in society.

Check out how different people experience depression to see just how varied the experiences can be: https://www.blurtitout.org/2016/07/08/describing-depression-whove-never/

Here are some stats from a previous piece I wrote about mental health so you can see how common mental health illnesses are and how there is a severe lack of treatment:

  • 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.

Lets end the Stigma! 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!

- WW Crew