Commemorate Mental Health Month by Understanding, Prioritizing and Connecting
This past year has forced many Iowans into tough situations, and many who need help often don’t seek it because they don’t recognize their struggle or want to admit it. No one is alone in their path to brain health wellness. In fact, brain health struggles are more common than many may think. In honor of Mental Health Month, get to know some of the facts about brain health and why Iowans of all ages need support now more than ever.
Myth: Mental illness doesn’t impact that many people.
Fact: 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health illness during their lifetime.
Myth: Children are too young to have brain health struggles.
Fact: According to the CDC, mental health-related visits for children aged 5 to 11 increased by 24 percent and visits for children aged 12 to 17 increased by 31 percent from 2019 to 2020. And mental-health related emergency department visits from children have increased and remained elevated since April 2020.
Myth: Brain health struggles are on the decline as businesses open up and more and more people are able to see family and friends again.
Fact: The percentage of adults with symptoms of anxiety or depression has continued to increase since the pandemic started. In fact, a recent CDC study found that from August 2020 to February 2021, adults with recent anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms increased from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent.
Maintaining your overall health is essential to be a healthy, active person. If you’re feeling sick, you go to the doctor or take medicine. Just as physical health needs are unique to each person, so are our mental health needs. The brain is one of the most important parts of our body, and it’s normal to experience short- or long-term brain health challenges. Just as you would seek treatment when you’re sick, you also need to seek treatment for brain health challenges. Brain health affects our overall wellbeing, including physical health, and needs to be prioritized.
Mental Health America — the organization that initiated Mental Health Month — has great resources available to individuals struggling with their brain health. Some resources provide tips on practicing radical acceptance, processing trauma and stress, managing frustration and anger, coping with change and the worst-case scenario, and prioritizing self-care. They also have an online screening tool that helps determine if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of brain health struggles.
Iowans also have resources available directly through the Iowa MHDS Regions. Iowa MHDS Regions work with care providers across the state to ensure no one is alone in their pursuit to improve their brain health and personal wellbeing. We have many tools to help our communities thrive, especially during the pandemic, and many of these services are free. Our experts can connect you or someone you know who is struggling with brain health with resources, including:
- 24-Hour Crisis Services
- Assertive Community Treatment
- Brain Health Evaluations
- Community Drop-In Centers
- Counseling and Therapy
- Day Habilitation
- Drinking Driver Education Classes
- Family Support
- Gambling Addiction
- Home and Vehicle Modification
- Home Health Aids
- Job Development
- Peer Support Groups
- Physical Therapy
- Prevocational Services
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- Substance Abuse Evaluations
- Substance Abuse Treatment
- Suicide Prevention
- Supported Housing
Recognize Mental Health Month by familiarizing yourself with our local brain health services. Get started by finding your local MHDS region through our service map. When you’re connected, you can also help others in need connect.