Mental Health Awareness Month – Why is Mental Health Important?

Hannah Sherman, Community Health Intern, Sarah Goldring, Extension Agent,, Gina Crist, Extension Community Health Specialist,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The month is observed with media, local events, and film screenings. Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization. Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States. Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. Depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness. A person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. If you are facing a change in your mental health, please discuss these changes with a healthcare provider or medical professional.

More than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.


Mental Health Resources

Helplines (Immediate Help)

Call 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
English: 1-800-273-8255
Spanish: 1-888-628-9454

Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7 anonymous, free crisis counseling

Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (Press 2 for Spanish)



National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)



Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860 (para español presiona el 2)

The Trevor Project’s TrevorLife: 1-866-488-7386


Older Adults

The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116

Alzheimer’s Association Helpline: 1-800-272-3900 (para español presiona el 2)


Veterans/Active-Duty Military

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or text 838255