May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and you may be wondering exactly what that means for you. It’s actually quite simple. You need to know three basic facts.

  1. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Hundreds of studies have shown the direct connection between one’s physical health and one’s mental health. Don’t spend all your time concerned about what you eat and getting enough exercise while neglecting the health of that all-important thing between your ears.
  2. Mental health conditions are common and treatable. Experts estimate that anxiety disorders alone affect about 18% of the adult U.S. population. Most mental health conditions are highly treatable. There are a variety of methods including, but not limited to, medication and/or psychotherapy.
  3. You can address your mental health today. You do not need to wait another day to address your mental health. You can take a free and anonymous screening and get some insight into your own mental health right now.

It is important for you – and all Americans — to know that behavioral health is essential to health, that prevention works, that treatment is effective, and that people recover. National Mental Health Awareness Month gives us all the opportunity to combat the negative attitudes, prejudice, and discrimination that prevent people from accessing treatment and supports and isolate people from their communities.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) hopes you will not only use these tips but that you also share with others, including your family and friends.

In addition to the tips above, here are other ways to better understand and/or improve your mental wellness:

  • Sign up for a free Mental Health First Aid training to teach you the skills needed to identify, understand, and respond to signs of behavioral health challenges or crises.
  • Take a free, quick, and anonymous Check Up from the Neck Up to learn whether or not you might be experiencing behavioral health challenges.
  • Follow us on social media at @DBHIDS and @HealthyMindsPHL to stay up-to-date about resources, community events, and our many programs and initiatives.
  • Call Community Behavioral Health’s Member Services toll-free helpline (888) 545-2600. Member Services representatives are available to direct you or others to emergency services, behavioral health resources, and treatment programs.

By raising awareness of mental health this month – and throughout the year – we can increase the number of people who are leading healthier, happier, and more-balanced lives. I challenge you to use this information and share it with a family member, friend, colleague, and/or neighbor. Together, we can help build strong, mentally well communities.