May is Mental Health MonthWhether we have a mental illness such as depression, know someone who has experienced such a problem or neither, we need to care about the issue of mental health. After all, we all have mental health. We may not think much about our mental health or even use that phrase, but it's a common element in all of our lives. Some people define it as a state of mind. Others view it as being content with life or feeling good about yourself.
Mental Health is perhaps best explained as how well we cope with daily life and the challenges it brings. When our mental health is good, we can deal better with what comes our way, at home, at work, and in life. When our mental health is poor, it can be difficult to function in our daily lives. It is a fluid state with disability and untreated illness at one end and the recovery and complete wellness at the other end. Most of us live and move within the middle range of the spectrum.
However, most of us take our mental health for granted. After all, since it's such a basic, yet unseen, part of who we are, it doesn't seem to merit a lot of thought compared to everything else going on in our lives or in the world. But the reality is that mental health is a major factor in all aspects of each of our lives. We see it play out in our relationships, in our performance at work or school and in health issues.
With our fast paced, 24/7 culture, we face more stress from our daily lives than ever before. Many of us work extended hours or multiple jobs and take less vacation. In fact, one in three American employees is chronically overworked. The line between work and home life is often blurred, so home is no longer a place of rest. Sleep and exercise feel like luxuries. We are eating poorly more often. We are also more disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors. Trust in one another has steadily declined over the last 30 years. Kids aren't immune either; many are racing from one activity to another without any downtime.
Whatever the source of the influences on your mental health, how we are to deal with these challenges can positively or negatively impact our mental health, overall health and well being. When considering all the ways it can affect each of us and our society, the issue of mental health amounts to the largest public health and economic concern in our country.