July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. You are probably confused wondering why I’ve switched the topic from relationships to mental health. Well, it’s been 1 year since I left a 7-year relationship and it has not been as easy and smooth as I thought it would be. And after starting my blog, I began experiencing an increasing amount of anxiety. Therefore, I took a much-needed break to evaluate my physical, mental and emotional health.
What I want to focus on is how our mental health has everything to do with all our relationships. But before we get to the effects of Mental Health in relationships, first things first let’s define Mental Health and Mental Illness. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. And Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is vital at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. You can learn more about the facts of Mental Health at CDC .gov
As minorities, we’re always avoiding any conversation regarding our mental health. Because we have some odd notion that it doesn’t happen to us. But on the contrary, as I divulged into my own research into Mental Health, I found some interesting facts.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- Over 70% of Black/African American adolescents with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for their condition.
- Almost 25% of adolescents with a major depressive episode in the last year were Hispanic/Latino.
- Asian American adults were less likely to use mental health services than any other racial/ethnic groups.
- In the past year, nearly 1 in 10 American Indian or Alaska Native young adults had serious thoughts of suicide.
- In the past year, 1 in 7 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults had a diagnosable mental illness.
As a community, we need to educate ourselves and let go of the many stigmas that are hindering us from living our best lives. I’ve chosen to look past the stigmas and search for a better understanding of Mental Health especially because I suffer from anxiety and depression. So as a young African American woman, I hope this reaches at least one person that may have a tough time acknowledging that Mental Health and Illness is real and there is real help available.
I’m really looking forward to sharing more with all of you this month.
Have a safe and cool summer!