As May is quickly approaching (seriously, I can’t believe we’re almost to May) and we’re in week 6 of life with COVID restrictions, the recent statistics from Mental Health America’s 2020 report are top of mind for us at the Center for Adult & Child Psychiatry. While more people are seeking help and opening up about their struggles with mental health, it’s still not enough, and the 2020 numbers are discouraging. Here are just some of the findings:
- Major Depression in youth has increased 4.35% in the past 6 years. Jumping from 8.66% to 13.01%.
- Adult prevalence of mental health is relatively stagnant, but suicidal ideation is increasing.
- Over 26 million individuals in the US are experiencing a mental health illness and are going untreated. 
So now let’s take the above statistics and add on the impact that COVID is having on all our mental health. Between February 15 and March 15 the number of weekly prescriptions for anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications jumped 21%. In the week ending March 15 (the peak week) 78% of all anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia prescriptions were for new prescriptions. 
Alright, so we can’t change what is currently happening in the world, but we can use this information as a platform to increase awareness as we move forward. Clearly more people are seeking help and that’s a really positive thing. So, as we enter May, Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s keep the discussion moving forward. Let’s work together to end the stigma related to struggling with mental health.
Here’s how you can help do your part to end the stigma:
- Seek professional help: If you need help, don’t be reluctant to admit it. Treatment can provide relief by identifying what’s wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your life. Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from asking for help.
- Be kind to yourself: The stigma that follows mental illness doesn’t just come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it on your own. Healing requires seeing yourself with grace and compassion.
- Don’t self-isolate: This is a common theme in people struggling with a mental illness. You push away friends and family for fear of judgement. It feels safer to build a wall around yourself than it does to talk about what you’re experiencing. Try to recognize this as it’s happening and ask for help.
- Join a support group: Connecting with others who have mental illness can help you overcome destructive self-judgment and gain self-esteem. You’re not alone and support groups are a great way to get comfortable talking about what you’re going through.
- Educate others: Do your part to educate yourself and others on your condition. Talk openly about your condition and know that the stigma stems from misunderstanding. We fear what we don’t know, so help others understand.
- Use technology: We are more connected than ever through technology, and with COVID we’ve really had to rely on it to stay connected. Online workouts, Zoom friend dates, meditation apps, fitness trackers and telemedicine are all ways to help.
*If you need some ideas please reach out to us and we can send you our free virtual toolkit filled with resources.
Lastly, please know that you are loved and cared about. Understand that you most certainly are not alone in this fight, and reach out if you or someone you know needs help. We’re here for you and are all in this together.
 state mental health america