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May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to celebrate recovery from mental illness and increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in all lives. This month raises awareness of trauma and helps to reduce the stigma so many people experience. Mental Health Month highlights the impact trauma can have on communities, children, and families’ emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

Maternal mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders affect 1 in 5 women and are prominent in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum complications. Women at an increased risk of maternal mental health may have a personal or family history of mental illness; may lack social support, especially from their partner; may have experienced traumatic birth or previous trauma in their lives; may have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Maternal mental health challenges are temporary and treatable with proper care. Recovery from maternal mental health includes social support, self-care, medication, and talk therapy, as a combination approach.

Child and adolescent mental health are also essential to consider during this month. 1 in 7 children and adolescents aged ten to nineteen years old experience mental health conditions, but these largely remain unrecognized and untreated. Emotional, social, and physical changes, including exposure to abuse, poverty, or crime, can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems. Anxiety, depression, and behavioral disorders are the leading causes of disability and illness among adolescents. Children and adolescents can feel supported about their diagnosis by the people in their lives learning about their diagnosis, exploring stress management techniques, and praising the child’s abilities and strengths.

Mental health prevention and promotion interventions aim to strengthen an individual’s capacity to regulate emotions, build resilience for managing difficult situations and adversity, enhance alternatives to risk-taking behaviors and promote supportive social environments and social networks. Enhance alternatives to risk-taking behaviors and promote supportive social environments and social networks.