Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949.
What Exactly is a Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases which can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease.
The two most common mental health conditions are:
Anxiety Disorders – More than 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.
Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population each year. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children, work in the next cubicle or sit in the same church pew.
Adults 60 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce. While most have good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time.
Additionally, the world’s population is aging rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s older adults is estimated to almost double from about 12% to 22%. In absolute terms, this is an expected increase from 900 million to 2 billion people over the age of 60.
- Mental health and well-being are as important in older age as at any other time of life.
- Mental and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total disability (DALYs) for this age group.
- Approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.
There may be multiple risk factors for mental health problems at any point in life. Older people may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability. For example, older adults may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty or other health problems, for which they require some form of long-term care. In addition, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, or a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement. All of these stressors can result in isolation, loneliness or psychological distress in older people, for which they may require long-term care.
Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are healthy. Additionally, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.
Maintaining healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle are some effective ways to promote better emotional health and well-being. We will promote a variety of ways to take care of your mental health for Mental Health Awareness month.
This week we would like to shine the light on free services available in corporate America through Cigna EAP services. why Cigna’s EAP provides access to licensed clinicians to help you cope with a wide variety of challenges, from family and job issues to substance use and emotional health.
Cost: No cost to you as part of your employer’s program.
Maximum visits with a licensed In-network counselor: Each person may use up to 6 visit(s) per issue per plan year. (Disclosure: This information is subject to change. Please check with your company’s Cigna EAP policy)
The Employee Assistance Program offers access to face-to-face counselors in the Cigna Behavioral Health network, as well as Cigna EAP phone consultants to help process life stresses and improve well-being.
Cigna’s EAP also offers you additional resources to help you balance your work and life needs. You can find them through your Work/Life Resources. Some examples are below:
|· Elder Care||· Emotional Health|
|Home Health Care||Depression|
Again, please check with your company’s Cigna EAP policy
The stigma that surrounds seeking mental health remains common due to media stereotypes and lack of education. People tend to attach negative stigmas to mental health conditions at a far higher rate than to other diseases and disabilities, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease. However, we have seen more people (celebrities included) coming forth with admissions to struggles with depression and bipolar disorders. The more we talk about it, the easier it becomes.
At Grown Folks, we want to help normalize mental health and take care of our minds just as we would our bodies. Let’s remove the stigma surrounding mental health!
“© Copyright Mental Health America” 5/1/2019,
World Health Organization 12/12/2017,