May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health America graphic that reads:  Risky Business.  May is Mental Health Month 2017.  Learn more:  Take the quiz:

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

  • 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition.  That's over 40 million Americans.
  • Rates of youth depression has risen from 8.5% in 2011, to 11.1% in 2014.
  • More Americans have access to services and treatment, partly due to more Americans having insurance.  However,
  • 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.
  • There is a serious mental health workforce shortage.  In states with the lowest workforce there's only 1 mental health professional per 1,000 individuals.  This includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses combined.
  • Less access to care means more incarceration.  States with the least access to care and highest rates of imprisonment include Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.  Over 57,000 incarcerated people in those states have a mental health condition.


State-by-state mental health and substance abuse data:

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at

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