May is Mental Health Awareness Month


By Darci Moore, CNP - Fayette County Public Health



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 people suffer from some type of mental illness daily here in the US. In the US 11.3% of people over the age of 18 report feelings of nervousness, anxiety, or worry and 4.5% of people report depression (CDC, 2022). The CDC reports 45,979 suicide deaths last year. Therefore, raising awareness of mental health is so important. It is important for people to know they are not alone and that there are many resources available to help them. Mental illness can be anything from depression to bipolar to autism. It is very common and treatable; this is why screening is important so that patients can begin treatment in a timely manner.

What is mental health?

Mental health is a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects how a person thinks, acts, and feels. It also impacts the choices they make and how they relate to and handle stress. Mental health is important throughout life from childhood to adulthood. Many people experience mental health problems that affect thinking, mood, and behavior.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important for a person’s overall health and well-being. According to the CDC mental health conditions such as depression put individuals at risk for other health problems such as heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. It is also shown that people who have these chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and strokes have an increased risk of mental health conditions.

What causes mental illness?

– Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain

– Trauma or history of abuse (child abuse, sexual assault, violence)

– Chronic or other ongoing medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes

– Alcohol or drug abuse

– Feelings of isolation or loneliness

What are some ways to cope with stress?

– Self-care

– Stretching, meditation, deep breathing

– Staying active

– Eating a healthy balanced diet

– Getting plenty of rest

– Limit alcohol

– Avoid misuse of prescription and street drugs

– Avoid smoking

– Participate in activities that you enjoy

– Discuss your feelings with family or a close friend

– Connect with faith-based or community-based organizations

– Limit screen time and social media

– Call the mental health crisis line if you are having any thoughts of suicide or homicide

What are treatments for mental illness?

– Medication

– Therapy and/or counseling

– Peer support

– Self-care

– Community-based services

What are some resources?

– Call 911 if you need immediate medical attention

– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish

– Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling

– Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish)

– National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

– National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

– National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat

– Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860 (para español presiona el 2)

– The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline: 1-866-488-7386

– The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116

– Alzheimer’s Association Helpline: 1-800-272-3900 (para español presiona el 2)

– Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)), then select 1, or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255

– U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Resources – https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/index.asp

– Help for Military Service Members and Their Families – https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/veterans

For more information about mental health services visit the CDC or Mental Health America at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/.

Darci Moore, CNP, is a Certified Nurse Practitioner at Fayette County Public Health. Darci sees patients through the FCPH Reproductive Health and Wellness Clinic with late hours available to meet the needs of patients. Call the office today if you would like to schedule an appointment (740-335-5910).

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By Darci Moore, CNP

Fayette County Public Health