Mental Health Outreach Campaign
As part of our on-going work to destigmatize mental illness, we’re leaving various educational toolkits we’ve created and compiled for your use. In partnership with Community Advancement Network (CAN) Language Access Program, you’ll find the Spanish version of this page here.
Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. [Source]
46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.
What is Mental Wellness?
Mental wellness refers to a state of well-being in which an individual is able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and make positive contributions to their community. It involves maintaining a balance of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental wellness encompasses not only the absence of mental illness but also the presence of positive mental health, which includes feelings of contentment, satisfaction, and purpose in life.
What is Stigma?
Mental health stigma is a common issue that affects individuals who are struggling with mental health. Although it can be difficult to face, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. By breaking down the negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes associated with mental illness, we can help to create a more accepting and supportive environment. Don’t let stigma prevent you from seeking the help and support you need. Instead, let it be a driving force to empower yourself and others to advocate for mental health awareness. We can overcome stigma by educating ourselves and spreading awareness about mental health, by embracing each other with compassion and kindness, and by promoting positive media portrayals of mental illness. Together, we can reduce stigma and create a healthier and more inclusive world for everyone to thrive in.
Mental Health Topics
Addiction/ Substance Use Disorders
Drug and alcohol addiction means that someone keeps using even if it’s causing problems. They might really want to stop, but it’s hard. This can hurt their body, mind, and relationships. Lots of different drugs can be addictive, like painkillers, alcohol, and cocaine. It’s something that needs ongoing treatment, like therapy, medicine, or support groups. If you think you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction, it’s important to get help from a professional.
ADHD is when someone has a hard time concentrating, being patient, and sitting still. Children and adults can both have ADHD. It can make it hard for them to focus on things, remember or finish tasks, and interact with others. These symptoms usually start when they are children and can last into adulthood. Doctors will diagnose ADHD by asking questions and observing behavior. There are different ways to treat ADHD, like taking medicines, getting therapy, and learning how to deal with the symptoms. People with ADHD can still have great lives with the right kind of help.
Did you know about the ACES study? It’s a super interesting study done by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente from 1995-1997. They wanted to see how bad things that happened to people when they were children could affect their health as adults. More than 17,000 people participated in the study by filling out surveys and having their medical records looked at. What they found was that the bad things that happened in childhood can have really negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental health in the long run. But here’s the good news – this study has inspired people to help children who have gone through tough times. They want to prevent bad things from happening and support kids who have already gone through trauma. This approach is called trauma-informed care, and it’s making a positive difference in the lives of many.
Anxiety is feeling worried or nervous about something that’s not certain. It’s a response to stress and can happen because of many situations. Anxiety can show up as physical symptoms like sweating or fast heart rate, and mental symptoms like racing thoughts and difficulty concentrating. Sometimes, anxiety is normal if the situation is stressful or uncertain, but it can be a disorder if it affects daily life too much. Different types of anxiety disorders include general anxiety, panic, social anxiety, and phobias. Ways to treat anxiety can include therapy, medicine, and making lifestyle changes like managing stress and exercising.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is a lifelong condition that usually starts in childhood. People with ASD might have trouble with socializing, following routines, and some might be sensitive to certain sensations. Some with ASD might face learning difficulties or medical issues too.
ASD symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another. Some with ASD may be able to live on their own while others may need support every day. The cause of ASD is still not clear, but genes and the environment could be contributing factors. There is no cure for ASD, but early diagnosis, therapy, and other treatments can help manage symptoms and enhance the quality of life.
Anger is a powerful and complex emotion that arises when one feels threatened, frustrated, or hurt. It is a natural reaction that can manifest as a result of perceived injustices, conflicts, or threats to one’s basic needs or values. Anger can range in intensity from mild irritation to explosive rage, and can be expressed in a multitude of ways, such as verbally, physically, or even passively. When uncontrolled or left unchecked, anger can lead to negative consequences, such as damaged relationships, violence, and physical or emotional harm to oneself or others. However, when managed effectively, anger can be a useful emotion that motivates individuals to take action and advocate for their needs and boundaries. Treatment for individuals struggling with uncontrollable anger may include therapy, stress reduction techniques, and medication.
Child Abuse & Neglect
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. It is characterized by two main phases, manic and depressive. During the manic phase, individuals experience euphoria, increased energy, and hyperactivity. They might also display risky behavior, such as spending sprees or substance abuse. During the depressive phase, individuals feel sad, hopeless, and lack energy or motivation. They may also experience difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and thoughts of suicide. Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that can impact an individual’s personal and professional life. It often requires ongoing treatment, including medication and therapy. While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, studies suggest that genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development.
Child abuse and neglect refer to harmful or risky acts towards children under the age of 18. These acts can be physical, sexual, emotional, or neglectful, including things like hitting, sexual exploitation, belittling, or failing to provide adequate care. This mistreatment can lead to significant harm, including physical injuries, mental illness, and developmental issues and can cause issues later in adulthood. To prevent child abuse, it is important that individuals, communities, and organizations recognize the signs and report suspected abuse to authorities. This helps protect children and provide them with the necessary support and services they need.
Chronic Pain/ Chronic Illness/ Disease
Complex PTSD, or C-PTSD, is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder that develops after experiencing prolonged and repetitive traumatic events, such as abuse or neglect in childhood or ongoing domestic violence. Unlike traditional PTSD, C-PTSD symptoms may not present immediately following the trauma, but instead emerge over time as a result of the ongoing psychological and emotional stress. These symptoms may include difficulty regulating emotions, dissociation, flashbacks, nightmares, and a distorted self-image or sense of identity. C-PTSD can also impact a person’s relationships with others, as they may struggle to trust and connect with others due to past experiences of betrayal or abandonment. Treatment for C-PTSD often involves a combination of therapy, such as talk therapy or EMDR, medication, and support from a qualified mental health professional.
Chronic pain and illness are conditions characterized by ongoing physical discomfort or symptoms that persist for more than three to six months. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, disease, inflammation, Chronic Stress, Trauma, or nerve damage. Chronic pain can manifest in various forms, including headaches, joint pain, back pain, and muscle pain, among others. Chronic illness can range from autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis to conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart disease. These conditions can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing physical limitations, emotional distress, and social isolation. Treatment for chronic pain and illness often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including medication, physical therapy, psychological counseling, and lifestyle modifications.
Depression is a common problem that affects lots of people. It makes you feel really sad for a long time and can stop you from enjoying things you used to. You might have trouble sleeping and eating, and feel like you’re not good enough or even want to hurt yourself. Depression can happen to anyone, no matter who they are. It can be caused by different things like family problems, how your brain works, things that have happened to you, or physical illnesses. The good thing is that depression can be treated. If you or someone you know has depression, it’s important to get help from a doctor. They can help by listening and talking to you, giving you medicine, and suggesting changes to your lifestyle.
Disordered eating refers to a range of unhealthy eating behaviors that can cause physical and emotional harm. These may include restrictive eating, binge eating, purging, or a combination of these behaviors. Disordered eating can arise from numerous factors such as psychological, societal, and cultural pressures to achieve a certain body type, low self-esteem, and genetics. Disordered eating can lead to severe health problems such as malnutrition, dehydration, hormonal imbalances, and even organ failure. It can also cause emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. It’s essential to note that disordered eating is different from an eating disorder as the latter has specific diagnostic criteria and is typically associated with a specific diagnosis. Treatment for disordered eating may require therapy, medical attention, and lifestyle changes, including learning healthy eating habits and practicing self-compassion.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Grief is the deep sadness and pain that someone experiences after the loss of a loved one, a significant life change, or a traumatic event. It is a natural process that can affect someone emotionally, physically, and mentally. Grief is often characterized by intense feelings of sorrow, disbelief, anger, guilt, and loneliness. Physical symptoms of grief may include loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. It can also affect one’s ability to concentrate and engage in daily activities. Grieving is a highly individual and personal experience, and everyone experiences grief differently. The grieving process can involve a range of coping strategies such as talking to others, practicing self-care, journaling, and seeking professional support. It is important for those experiencing grief to be patient with themselves and allow themselves time to heal.
Intimate partner violence is when someone abuses or hurts their romantic partner in different ways. They can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. For instance, hitting, insulting, forcing sex, or controlling finances. Anyone can experience this kind of violence, no matter their age, gender, or how much money they have. It is harmful and can cause physical and mental health problems for the victim and their family. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in their relationship, it is vital to seek help. There are many resources that can help, such as domestic violence shelters, hotlines, and counseling services in your local area.
Incarceration is when someone gets put in jail as punishment for doing something illegal. It’s supposed to stop people from doing crimes in the future, keep society safe, and help them become better people. However, going to jail can be a really bad thing for people, their family, and the community. People who go to jail might lose their friends, job, and home. They can also have mental health problems, and might do bad things again when they get out of jail.
Re-entry is when someone who has been in jail comes back to society. This can be really hard because people might not want to be friends with them or give them a job or a place to live. Without help, people who have been in jail might do bad things again. To help them, there are programs to teach them new things and help them get a job.
LGBTQ refers to people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. They can face discrimination and violence in many countries. This can affect their mental health and wellbeing and make it harder for them to access services like healthcare, education and housing. They may be at risk of homelessness, poverty and suicide. People advocate for LGBTQ rights to create a fairer society. They work to support policies and laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination and provide them with equal rights. The aim is to make society accepting and supportive of all different types of identities.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is a mental disorder where people have unwanted thoughts that never go away, called “obsessions”. To feel better, they might do things over and over again, called “compulsions”. These actions can take up a lot of time and make it hard to do everyday things.
People with OCD might be scared of germs, need things to be just right, check things over and over again, count things over and over, or clean too much. OCD can affect anyone, no matter who they are.
There are treatments for OCD like talking to a therapist or taking medication. With the right help, people with OCD can learn how to handle their symptoms and live a good life.
When people are oppressed, it can affect their mental health. They may feel scared, anxious, and sad because of what is happening around them. It can make them feel like they have no power, no hope, and that they are worth less than others. This can make any mental health problems they already have worse. It can also make it harder for them to get help, because they might not have access to mental health services, people might judge them unfairly or they might not have enough money. Oppression can even cause mental health problems like trauma and PTSD that can last a long time. We need to help people who are struggling with the effects of oppression by giving them resources and support. We also need to teach people to understand that oppression can harm mental health and to work towards equality for everyone.
Panic disorder is when someone has sudden attacks of fear and anxiety that can happen at any time. These attacks can cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, and trouble breathing. If someone has multiple panic attacks and is afraid of having more, they may have panic disorder. This can make them anxious and avoid certain situations in their daily life. To treat it, people may take medication or talk to a therapist who can help them understand and change their negative thoughts and behaviors.
A personality disorder is a mental health problem that can make it hard for people to manage their feelings and relationships in a healthy way. It can also make life harder in general. People with this disorder may have different types of problems, like struggling to control their emotions or coping with stress. They might also see the world in a confusing or upsetting way which can make them feel alone, empty, or unsure of themselves.
There are different types of personality disorder, but all types involve having a hard time managing emotions and relationships. To treat personality disorders, patients usually get a mix of talking therapy, medication, and advice on lifestyle changes. With treatment, people can learn to manage their symptoms and enjoy life more.
PTSD is a type of mental illness that can happen when you go through something really horrible or see something really disturbing. This can include things like natural disasters, accidents, assaults, combat, or anything else that makes you feel like your life is in danger or that you are powerless. If you have PTSD, you might have nightmares, memories that feel like they’re happening again, or trouble feeling safe. You might also try to avoid things or places that remind you of what happened, or you might feel like you’re not really alive. These symptoms can make it hard to live your daily life.
To get better, you might need to talk to a doctor or therapist and try different ways to feel better, like medicine or things like yoga or meditation. The sooner you get help, the better the outcome can be.
Racism is a big problem that can hurt people’s mental and emotional well-being. People who experience racism may feel sad, anxious, and alone. Racism can also make people feel bad about themselves and have trouble connecting with others. Unfortunately, unfair treatment in healthcare also makes it harder for people of color to get the help they need. This can make mental health differences even worse.
We need to work together to stop racism and promote better mental health. This means learning about it and getting support. Also, we need to deal with the things that make it harder for people of color to get help. By doing this, we can make sure everyone has a positive life which is a universal right
Schizophrenia is a mental health problem that affects the way people think, feel and behave. People with schizophrenia may have delusional thoughts, hallucinations, disorganized speech and thinking, and lose touch with reality. It usually starts during teenage years or early adulthood in both men and women. No one knows what causes schizophrenia, but it might be genetic, environmental, or social factors. While there is no permanent cure for schizophrenia, doctors can manage it with a combination of medication, therapy, and the support of friends and family. Many people who have schizophrenia and are properly treated have happy and successful lives.
Sexual violence means someone doing sexual things to another person without that person saying it’s okay. This can include things like rape or sexual harassment. Sexual violence can be really bad for people and communities. It can make people feel bad emotions like shame, guilt, fear, anger or shock, and can make it hard for people to get help or be believed because of stereotypes. It’s important to remember that the person who experiences sexual violence is never at fault and the person who does it is responsible for their actions. People can try to prevent this from happening by educating others, getting help when they need it, and helping survivors recover.
Special Populations: Aging Adults
Special Populations: Human Trafficking
As people grow older, they may face mental health problems, such as feeling sad, worried, having trouble thinking, or developing memory loss. These problems can become more challenging due to significant changes, like retiring, losing loved ones, or dealing with sickness. It can also be difficult to get help because they may feel lonely, short on money, or have trouble seeing a doctor. However, if we recognize the signs of these mental health troubles, we can get the proper care to treat it. We can prevent some problems by staying social, exercising, and being mindful. We can also have regular checkups with a doctor. It is essential for caregivers and doctors to support the mental health of aging adults.
Human trafficking is a bad thing that hurts people. It can hurt people in many ways, like making them do sex work or work without pay. These experiences can be very scary and cause mental health problems, like feeling sad or anxious all the time, or even thinking about suicide. It’s important to help these people with their mental health by understanding what they’ve been through and giving them tools to heal and feel better. Mental health professionals should listen to the people who have been through trafficking and give them power to control their own lives. By helping with mental health, survivors can also get help with other things they need, like medical care or legal help.
Special Populations: Intellectual Disabilities
Special Populations: New Parents
Intellectual disability is a condition characterized by limitations in intellectual functioning as well as in adaptive behavior and daily living skills. Individuals with intellectual disabilities may have difficulty acquiring new knowledge, communicating effectively, and performing everyday tasks independently. The severity of the disability can range from mild to profound, and the cause can vary, including genetic factors, brain damage, and environmental factors. People with intellectual disabilities may also have co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, and physical health issues. Support and accommodations, such as specialized education, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, can help individuals with intellectual disabilities thrive and lead fulfilling lives.
Becoming a new parent can be an exciting and joyful experience, but it can also be challenging and overwhelming. The sleepless nights, feeding and changing routines, and the need to balance work and family responsibilities can take a toll on the mental health of new parents. Postpartum depression and anxiety are common among new mothers, but new fathers can also experience similar symptoms. It’s important to seek help if you are struggling with your mental health as a new parent. This can include reaching out to a mental health professional, joining a support group, or talking to your doctor. It’s also important to practice self-care, such as getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and making time for activities that you enjoy. Remember, taking care of your mental health as a new parent is essential for both yourself and your baby.
Special Populations: Non-Death Loss
Special Populations: Non-suicidal Self Injury
Non-death loss means harm or damage that happens to a person or group of people, but doesn’t result in death. This can include physical injuries, emotional strain, damages to property, losing money, or other types of harm. Different things can cause non-death loss such as accidents, natural disasters, crimes, or carelessness.
Non-death loss can have a very big impact on people and communities. It often takes a lot of time and resources to help people recover from non-death losses, like rehabilitation or counseling. Sometimes, people might take legal action to try to get help or compensation for what they’ve lost.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) means hurting yourself, like cutting or burning, on purpose, but not wanting to die. People who do this might be struggling with mental health problems like depression or anxiety and use it to try and cope with their emotions. Getting help from a professional, like a therapist or doctor, and using other ways to feel better can be really useful for managing these behaviors and being healthier. If you know someone who is hurting themselves, you can support them by being a good listener and encouraging them to get help from a professional.
Special Populations: Perinatal (pregnant).
Special Populations: Religious Trauma
Perinatal mental health refers to the mental and emotional well-being of women during pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth. Pregnancy can bring about a range of emotions such as anxiety, depression, and stress, which can impact both the mother and the baby’s health and development. Postpartum depression is a common condition that affects many women after giving birth, with symptoms such as feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable, lack of interest in the baby, and difficulty sleeping and eating. Perinatal mental health disorders can also affect the relationship between the mother and the baby, as well as the overall family dynamic. It is important for women to receive appropriate care and support during this critical time, including mental health screening, access to therapy, and medication if needed.
Religious trauma is a term used to describe the emotional and psychological distress that is caused by religious beliefs and practices. This type of trauma can occur in individuals who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse associated with religious institutions or who have been raised in strict or extremist religious environments. Some symptoms of religious trauma include anxiety, depression, self-doubt, guilt, shame, and feelings of powerlessness. Religious trauma can also lead to difficulties with trust, intimacy, and social relationships. This type of trauma is complex and may require professional counseling or therapy to address. It is important for individuals who have experienced religious trauma to seek support and validation, and to work towards healing and recovery.
Special Populations: Teens
Special Populations: Traumatic Brain Injury
Teenagers are special and need help from the people who care for them, teach them, and live in their community. They are in a transition period between being a kid and being an adult. This time can be hard because their bodies and feelings are changing, so they need help from adults around them. They might have difficulties like feeling pressure from their friends, feeling lots of emotions or not doing well in school or with other people. Adults should create safe and helpful environments that will help teenagers grow and develop. If we invest in programs that help teenagers, they will have a better chance at having a happy and successful life.
TBI happens when you hit your head really hard, which can cause problems with how your brain works. This can happen because of a punch, a fall, or if something sharp goes into your head. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, feeling tired, and problems with your memory or mood. Sometimes the symptoms come right away, but sometimes they take longer to show up. TBI can cause other problems like seizures, constant headaches, and changes in how you act. If you have a brain injury, you might need different kinds of help like rest, medicine, rehab, or therapy. It’s important to see a doctor right away if you hurt your head, so that you can get the right treatment and avoid more problems later on.
Toxic Masculinity/ Machismo
Suicide is the act of intentionally ending one’s own life. It is a complex phenomenon that can be caused by various factors such as mental illness, extreme emotional distress, a sense of hopelessness, or feeling disconnected from others. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can range from mild ideations to actual suicide attempts, and can be triggered by stressors such as financial troubles, relationship problems, or the death of a loved one. Suicide is a serious public health issue and can have devastating effects on families, friends, and communities. It is important to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors. There are resources available such as crisis hotlines, support groups, and mental health professionals who can provide assistance and care.
Toxic masculinity is when society expects men to act a certain way, like being aggressive or not showing emotions. These ideas can be harmful to men and those around them. Toxic masculinity can mean thinking that being kind or sensitive is bad, keeping men in certain roles, and using violence to show power over others, especially women. This can cause problems like sexual harassment, domestic violence, and depression. It’s important to recognize and stop these bad attitudes and behaviors so that everyone can be treated fairly.