Happy May! Here in North Carolina, the weather is warming up, the sun shining more often than not and my cats are cackling at the birds flying by the window. It's beautiful and uplifting!
But, life isn't always uplifting. For those times when it isn't, the support of friends and family is great. However, when we find ourselves struggling for more than a couple of weeks, it may be time to seek professional help. The focus of Mental Health Awareness Month is to help #removethestigma associated with mental health needs as well as share resources.
A couple of points from Mental Health America:
1. You are NOT alone!
About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for the majority of people.
While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
2. Get help!
The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis. It is never too early to seek treatment for your mental health. Intervening effectively during early stages can save lives and is critically important for people living with mental health conditions.
The delays in treatment for mental health conditions are longer than for many other health conditions. Getting screened increases the chances of getting treatment. Mental Health America has free, anonymous, and scientifically validated mental health screens at mhascreening.org.
If you're struggling mentally or emotionally and don't know what to do, talk to your doctor or call the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) if offered by your employer, or a "warmline" (non-crisis telephone number) to talk to someone who can provide support. Find a warmline nearest you here: screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines/
If you worry about negative impressions by others about you needing professional help with your mental health, remember, your mental health is part of your overall health and you are not alone. From beloved characters in C.S. Lewis' Alice In Wonderland - "We're all a little mad here."