October 12, 2022
MCHD observing Mental Health Awareness Week
MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office is observing Mental Health Awareness Week from October 10th to 14th. Mental Health Awareness Week is a time to raise awareness of mental illness and reduce disparities in mental health treatment.
Mental health is critical to physical, emotional, and social well-being. Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. This includes how well we cope with stress, relate to others, make healthy choices, and our ability to make contributions to society.
Yet, mental illness is one of the most common health conditions. Each year, 20 percent of Americans will experience mental illness. Minority populations, however, suffer from poorer mental health outcomes because of gaps in access and quality of mental health care. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated these disparities.
Public health plays an essential role in improving mental well-being by working toward the prevention, early detection, and treatment of mental health conditions. Advocacy for mental health is also crucial to reducing the stigma around mental illness and barriers around behavioral health care.
There are several strategies that can help improve mental health on an individual level. Mind-body programs such as meditation, guided imagery, and expressive art are among the most promising techniques. These practices can help focus your attention and create a sense of inner calm and peace.
Another strategy is to schedule time within your day for things that you enjoy. Hobbies such as gardening, artistic pursuits, and playing music have been shown to contribute to better mental health.
People struggling with mental health issues often want to isolate themselves, but social contact helps you receive support from the people you care about. This includes connecting with friends and family, joining a community with similar interests, or volunteering for charitable groups. Other useful techniques include eating well, exercising regularly, proper sleep hygiene, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
However, sometimes professional help is needed, and talking to a licensed therapist can help improve your mental health.