Mental Health Matters: 5 Surprising Facts About Our Mental Health

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A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. And, like your body, your mind needs regular exercise and care to keep it functioning properly. In order to be successful in any field, you need to be mentally sharp and emotionally stable—it’s possible that without the right balance of attention and support, you may find yourself floundering in your career rather than flourishing as you’d hoped. Fortunately, mental health matters just as much as physical health matters, so here are five facts about our mental health that might surprise you.

One in four people will be diagnosed with a mental illness this year

Mental illness is more common than you might think. Roughly 25 percent of American adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness in any given year—and many more have experienced mental health issues as children or teens. In some cases, these illnesses last throughout adulthood; in others, they strike at specific points and then fade away. Regardless of what you hear about mental illness in popular culture, everyone has to confront it at some point. The good news is that there are effective treatments for most of them—medication and therapy both play major roles in treating mental health issues successfully. Mental illness can also lead to serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Many people who experience mental illness also suffer from chronic physical conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, or asthma. It’s important to know how your mental health affects your physical well-being so you can get help if necessary. If you notice symptoms of depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor immediately—you may need medication or psychotherapy right away! If you’re not sure where to start talking about your feelings, try asking friends and family members if they’ve noticed changes in your behavior lately. You don’t have to go through tough times alone!

Only 15% of those who have a diagnosis seek treatment

You might be surprised to learn that most people with a mental health diagnosis don’t seek treatment. In fact, it’s estimated that fewer than 40% of those who have a mental health condition receive treatment each year. Stigma around therapy and other barriers, like long wait times for appointments or difficulty finding a good provider, can often keep people from seeking help—despite their best intentions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 80% of people believe access to quality care is critical to helping someone experiencing a mental health issue get better and 67% feel regular health care professionals should screen for signs of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. These statistics highlight how important it is to find ways to reduce stigma and make sure everyone has access to high-quality mental health services. If you want anyone in your life dealing with a mental health condition, encourage them to talk about it openly. Be supportive if they decide they need help. And remind them that there are effective treatments available so they can take steps toward feeling better soon.

There is an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and death by suicide among people with depression compared to those without
according to one study, between 15% and 25% of people with major depression eventually die by suicide. While those numbers may seem high, they still only apply to a small portion of people with depression—the same study put that number closer to 3%. There are also a number of studies showing that while many people report suicidal thoughts when they’re depressed, most never act on them. If you have thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life, seek help right away from your doctor or another mental health professional. People who know someone who is depressed are more likely to develop depression themselves; there’s even evidence that children exposed to depression in their parents or caregivers (even if they don’t show symptoms) are at an increased risk for developing it later in life. In other words, if you’re concerned about someone else’s mental health, talk to them! Helping others can not only improve their lives but can also make us feel better ourselves. Depression isn’t something we can snap out of like we might a bad mood; instead, it’s usually something that requires treatment over time. Even so, people with depression respond well to treatment—in fact, research shows that 90% will experience significant improvement in their symptoms within three months of starting therapy or taking medication.

 Many suicide victims who are hospitalized show symptoms of depression
According to one study, over 90% of people who committed suicide had visited a doctor in that last year. People who are severely depressed have a harder time fighting off illness and getting better, so doctors should take that into account when treating people with suicidal tendencies. People with PTSD aren’t just hurting mentally: Exposure to trauma can wreak havoc on people’s bodies, too. Just like depression (also known as major depressive disorder), post-traumatic stress disorder is considered a mental health condition; but it can also leave people vulnerable to addiction and other physical conditions. Your mental health may be affected by how much you exercise: Scientists haven’t fully figured out why yet, but they think there’s some connection between physical activity and improved mental health. One theory suggests that working out increases levels of serotonin—the chemical that makes us feel happy—in our brains. Another theory suggests it has something to do with endorphins, which are released during physical activity and can help improve moods. How common is autism? It’s hard to say exactly how many people have autism spectrum disorders because autism itself isn’t actually listed as a diagnosis in any medical handbook or diagnostic manual. Instead, symptoms of Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and several other diagnoses fall under an umbrella term called autism spectrum disorders. The CDC estimates that 1 in 68 children has been identified with ASD.

Suicide rates are higher for men than women
The annual suicide rate for men is 25.9 per 100,000 while it’s 8.3 per 100,000 for women. While men are more likely to complete suicide, women are more likely to attempt it. According to Psychology Today , In absolute numbers, approximately four times as many males commit suicide as females in a given year. In addition, Forbes says that for every completed suicide among women in 2003 there were almost four attempts, while among men who died by suicide [in 2003], there were 18 deaths by suicide and 43 attempts. However, according to Forbes statistics show that 75% of all suicides occur in people with mental disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. Depression affects about 20 million Americans each year and about half of those people will not seek treatment. Nearly 80% of people who die from suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death, most commonly major depression or alcohol dependence (see Suicide Prevention Resource Center ).
The U.S has one of highest rates in developed countries: According to CNN , The United States has one of highest rates in developed countries. In fact, says Psychology Today , suicide is now among leading causes of death for Americans between ages 15 and 34. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that more than 90 percent of people who died by suicide had a mental disorder at the time they took their lives, usually depression or alcohol or drug abuse (see Suicide Prevention Resource Center ). The rate is increasing for middle-aged men: The rate of suicides among middle-aged men has increased sharply since 1999, according to Time . It’s not clear why but experts believe it may be due to job loss, financial problems and other stresses. There’s been an increase in all kinds of stressors on men, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It may be that we’re seeing fallout from economic difficulties. Men are also less likely than women to seek help when they’re depressed or anxious because they tend to internalize those feelings instead of seeking help from others. There’s been an increase in all kinds of stressors on men, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It may be that we’re seeing fallout from economic difficulties. Men are also less likely than women to seek help when they’re depressed or anxious because they tend to internalize those feelings instead of seeking help from others. People with mental illness have higher risk factors for heart disease: Heart disease is much more common among people with mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to WebMD . More than half of patients with these disorders have cardiovascular disease within 20 years after diagnosis.

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