May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May 10, 2022
Each May we raise awareness about the importance of mental health and its impact on the well-being across our Nation. We also give thanks to the dedicated mental health providers whose service and support improve the lives of so many Americans.
Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans were experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, and heightened levels of depression. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those conditions, creating an unprecedented mental health crisis across our country.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the rate of depression across the country has more than tripled compared to rates in 2019. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, one in every twenty adults are living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression.
Unfortunately, many people either do not seek treatment or remain unaware that certain symptoms could be connected to a mental health condition. Distinguishing between expected behaviors and others that might be the sign of a mental illness isn't always easy and many of us lack the professional skill set to know the difference.
Mental Illness can present in several different forms and illnesses. Each illness has its own symptoms, but there are some common signs of mental illness that present in adults and adolescents. Some of these symptoms are as follow:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (” lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
If you are concerned about any of these signs either in yourself, a loved one or a flying partner, please reach out to our AFA EAP Committee for confidential peer support and assistance. Call 1-800-424-2406 or locate your Local Council AFA EAP Committee members at using this resource.
We stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing mental health conditions, renewing our commitment to providing them with the support they need and deserve.