May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  If you didn't know, now you are aware :)

The world around us affects our mental well being. According to MakeItOK.org, mental health issues can be caused by all or some of the following: 

  • "Trauma. Sometimes traumatic events can play a role in triggering a mental illness.
  • Chemical imbalance. Chemical or biochemical changes in the brain can affect mental health.
  • Genetics. Some mental illnesses get passed along from one generation to the next.
  • The environment. Exposure to toxins, illnesses, drugs or alcohol can affect the developing brain in utero."

Body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are mental health disorders that include hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (dermatophagia) and nail biting (onchyophagia). Like many mental health disorders, BFRBs are still taboo. We are not as comfortable vocalizing the issues we face when our brains fail us as we are when we have other physical health illnesses, like cancer or diabetes. This infographic from MakeItOK.org shows that Mental health disorders (they refer to them as "illnesses") are more common than one would think:

And this video from Mental Health America has a very powerful message. If our bodies fail us, we do not wait to seek medical attention, so why is it that we prolong our mental health disorders, thinking we'll "get over it" in time?  Our bodies don't heal that way. Our brains don't heal that way.  Mental health disorders are treatable and we should not wait too long to seek help. 

Many of us are essentially battling with our own selves. We could all be a little nicer to one another, hopefully for more than just Mental Health Awareness Month.