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We're Going Green for National Mental Health Awareness Month

Commemorated in the US in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization, Clifford Whittingham Beers and his professional colleagues focused on mental health issues and awareness. They wanted to find ways to ensure that mental health patients received the proper care and did not feel alone in their fight against mental health illnesses.

Today, mental health is entering more and more of our daily conversations. In 2023, Pennsylvania has the 9th lowest-ranking state in the US for the prevalence of adult mental illness. However, on average, the delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years. Much longer than many other health conditions. Many still spend months or years facing mental health challenges before seeking help.

Did you know ...

∙ 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness yearly (57.8 million in 2021,) and less than half receive treatment.

∙ Half of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

∙ 55% of US Counties do not have a single practicing psychiatrist.

∙ Depression alone costs the nation about $210.5 billion annually.

Mental health challenges look different for each person affected, and sometimes they may be difficult to recognize. However, it's never too early to seek help for your mental health. We can agree that the occasional bad day is not uncommon. Still, something's going on when things that used to be easy become much more complicated. Instead of focusing on physical symptoms, look inward to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

∙ Do you prefer to be alone most of the time?

∙ Do you experience severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships?

∙ Have you lost interest in friends/work, hobbies, food, etc.?

∙ Do you have trouble focusing or the inability to perform daily tasks?

∙ Do you have thoughts of harming yourself or others?

Once you recognize you may need help to deal with your mental health concern(s), never forget that you are not alone. Accepting and talking about it is an excellent first step. Suppose you need further assistance beyond assistance from a trusted family member or friend. In that case, you should not hesitate to consult a professional (medical doctor or mental health professional). Treatment options and durations vary. You must find what works best for you, even if it takes a few tries. Keep going, don’t give up!

Whatever your path to wellness looks like, help is always available.

You are more than enough!

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