May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a month dedicated to raising awareness on all things mental health. It is important to address topics surrounding mental health, so individuals who have any sort of mental health concern receives the help and care they need without facing any sort of shame or guilt. Something we can all do this month is educate ourselves on mental health. Overall mental health is something we all have. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” With this definition, we can see that mental health is something we all have and something we all need to take care. It can help to make the comparison to physical health. We all have physical health, and we all know that it is important to take care of our physical health by eating healthy, drinking water, and exercising. In a similar way, we can all take care of our mental health by doing a variety of things.
There are many individuals who have mental health conditions. Mental health conditions or mental illnesses are different than overall mental health. According to NAMI, a mental illness is “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood.” Having a mental health condition usually deeply impacts day-to-day living and can impact an individual’s ability to relate to others. Some of the most common mental health conditions include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders, but there are many others as well. If you have a mental health condition it is so important to know you are NOT alone. In the United States, 1 in 5 adults have a mental illness each year (NAMI). It is also important to note recovery is possible from a mental health condition. There are treatment options which are available, whether it is seeing a therapist, taking medication, attending a support group, staying in a hospital, or a combination of these. HELP is out there, and recovery is possible.
To learn more about mental illness you can go to https://www.thekimfoundation.org/mental-illness/. Throughout this month, let us continue to educate ourselves, so we can all work to break down the stigma associated with mental health and seeking mental health care.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.