TRUE Mentors cares about National Mental Health Awareness Month and ending the stigma around mental illness. Now more than ever, it’s important to check in with ourselves and make sure we are taking care of our mental health.
Since 1949, May has been designated as National Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and it is an opportunity to remind each of us to #BeKindToYourMind. But, what does mental health really mean? Mental health is the term used to describe an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.
It is particularly important to talk about this important issue for those of us working with youth because younger people tend to have higher rates of diagnosable mental health disorders. To cite just a few alarming statistics:
- According to the CDC, 7.4% of youth aged 3 to 17 have a diagnosed behavioral problem, 7.1% of youth within the same age bracket have diagnosed anxiety, and 3.2% have diagnosed depression.
- The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Healthy Youth indicated that 14.4 % of youth between ages 12 to 17 experienced a Major Depressive Episode within the past year.
- According to data from the 2016 NSCH, 46% of the nation’s youth age 17 and under report experiencing at least one trauma. Trauma has been linked to increased suicidal ideation.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between 10 and 24 years of age. The third leading cause of death for this age group is homicide. LGBT students are 4x more likely to have thoughts of suicide than those who identify as heterosexual.
But the younger generations aren’t the only ones afflicted with mental health issues. EVERYBODY has mental health needs, including people who have a mental illness, people who have undergone trauma, and anyone who could benefit from a professional, third-party opinion.
While getting help sounds simple enough, many people find it difficult to set aside the time and energy to devote to their mental health during normal times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. Self-Isolation measures have added additional barriers for people finding seeking support or trying to access the care they typically rely on.
In order to address the ongoing mental health needs of the Hudson County population, TRUE Mentors is establishing partnerships with nonprofit resource providers throughout the county and collecting resource information, which is available on our website and communicated directly to our families. In addition, TRUE Mentors has set up Isolation Buddies and talked about stress management techniques in our latest Enrichment Clubs Activities. For more information, email Maria Lara at Maria@TRUEMentors.org.
We look forward to continuing to support our participants and volunteers by increasing mental health awareness, maintaining a safe space for all people, and supporting those who have psychological and emotional needs by whatever means we can.
Here are some additional resources to help focus on your mental health during these unusual times and learn about mental health and youth development:
- Mental Health Awareness Month Information
- CDC Coronavirus and Mental Health
- Learn about youth and mental health issues
- Understanding Mental Health for Youth Video
- What is Mental Health Video?
- Teens and Mental Health Video