Importance of Mental Health

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photo courtesy of jesuitroundup.org

by ANTHONY ATENCIO

Americans of all ages are being affected by mental health issues at a rapid rate and one solution might be to start looking into these problems and finding coping methods at a younger age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that mental illnesses are “conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior,” such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. These conditions could potentially be chronic and alter one’s day to day life and relationships with others.

Mental illness is among the most common health conditions in the United States.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “one in five people live with some  sort of mental disorder or disease.” This is a problem because according to studies from Western Governors University, “60 percent of high school students with mental illness don’t graduate.”

Early adverse life experiences such as child abuse, sexual assault, abuse of alcohol or drugs, isolation and biological factors often contribute to the risk of developing some form of mental illness among Americans.

Despite how common mental health problems are among Americans, many don’t make an effort to improve their situation. According to helpguide.org, “We ignore emotional messages that tell us something is wrong and try toughing it out by distracting ourselves or self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive behaviors,” or we “bottle up our problems in the hope that others won’t notice. We hope that our situation will eventually improve on its own.” Many say that these mental health issues are just a part of who they are as a person.

The study from Western Governors University states that “Until mental health education is a mandatory aspect of all schools, teachers and administrators can work to promote awareness with their students,” they continue by stating that teachers should “shine a light on the concept of self-care and responsibility for one’s own mental health and wellness, with an emphasis on the fact that mental health is an integral part of health and the concept of recovery from mental illness.” This would help students recognize the signs of mental health problems and how they could cope and manage with the arising illness.

One method of preventing and coping with mental illness includes regular exercise.  Physical exercise is known to help relieve stress, improve memory, increase the quality of one’s sleep and help with emotional and mental health problems.

Although one may feel alone and try to solve their problems on their own, a study conducted by helpguide.org states, “No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and function at your best.” Face-to-face communication with others is essential for helping one to cope with mental illness.

  Mental health issues are among the greatest issues present among Americans of all walks of life and with assistance could receive the help they need to learn how to manage and cope with these illnesses.

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