October is designated as Mental Health Awareness month. It is during this time we strive to raise awareness about mental health and mental illness. These terms are often used interchangeably; however, they are not the same thing. For example, a person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Alternatively, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. Every year millions of adults and children experience mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Often, they feel alone or without the emotional support they need. There are many ways you can show support, but sometimes the best way is to just listen. Individuals diagnosed with a mental illness may find it helpful just talking about how they feel and knowing you are there to listen can be all the support they may need at the time. If you have friends or family members diagnosed with a mental illness, learning about the illness may help you better understand how to provide additional support.
For more information on this topic, please see the Monthly WellNS Topics page.