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Mental Health Action Day Shifts Focus from Awareness to Action

May 16th is Mental Health Day of Action

  • By Marquis Lupton
Mental health, human head, psychological help, psychiatry concept, therapy course, cognitive development, vector line icon

Mental health, human head, psychological help, psychiatry concept, therapy course, cognitive development, vector line icon

Aired; May 15th, 2024.

May 16th, marks Mental Health Action Day, a significant initiative aimed at shifting the focus of mental health culture from mere awareness to concrete action. This day serves as a vital reminder of the ongoing mental health crisis and the need for proactive steps to address it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than one in five adults live with a form of mental illness. Alarmingly, over 20% of youth aged 13 to 18 have experienced a serious, debilitating mental illness at some point in their lives. These statistics underscore the urgent need for effective mental health interventions and resources.

In recognition of Mental Health Action Day, The Spark invited two distinguished mental health specialists to provide deeper insights into the multifaceted issue of mental health, Dr. Matthew Hurford, President and CEO of UPMC’s Community Care Behavioral Health, and Professor Jihan Owens-Tyler, a psychotherapist and counselor at Elizabethtown College. Professor Owens-Tyler brings a wealth of expertise, having been trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure CBT, structural family therapy, emotion-focused family therapy, trauma-informed care, and psychoanalytic therapies. And while the national statistics on mental illness are sobering, there is encouraging news for Pennsylvanians. According to Mental Health America, Pennsylvania ranks eighth in overall access to mental health resources and stands out as the top state in the nation for youth-specific access to mental health services and the lower prevalence of youth mental illness. This ranking highlights the state’s commitment to providing robust mental health support, particularly for its younger population.

Mental illness manifests in various forms, including anxiety, nervousness, worry, stress, loneliness, frustration, mood swings, and panic attacks. The diverse range of symptoms necessitates a comprehensive approach to treatment and support, emphasizing the importance of specialized care and accessible resources. And as Mental Health Action Day progresses, the focus remains on encouraging individuals to take actionable steps towards improving their mental health and advocating for better mental health policies and resources. By moving beyond awareness and towards action, society can make significant strides in addressing the mental health challenges faced by millions.

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