May 5, 2022

It’s ok to talk about mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Gregory W. Dalack, M.D., Chair, Department of Psychiatry

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a time dedicated to raising awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health. It is encouraged that departments across Michigan Medicine use this month to provide resources to their employees, have open dialogue about mental health, find ways to check-in and have designated pause hours.  

Did you know that, in 2020: 

  • 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue? 
  • 1 in 6 young people experienced a major depressive episode? 
  • Suicide was (and still is) a leading cause of death in the United States? In fact, it was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24.  
  • Half of all mental illnesses show early signs before a person turns 14 years old, and 3/4 of mental illnesses begin before age 24? 

The number of children and adolescents facing mental health challenges has long been on the rise. And when COVID-19 hit, these numbers escalated and haven’t let up.  

Anxiety, depression, psychological trauma, long-term emotional stress, social isolation and suicidal thoughts are impacting our youth — with especially high rates among young people of color.  

This past fall, our nation’s leading children’s health organizations declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. This was followed by a similar declaration of a national emergency in December by the U.S. Surgeon General. 

Caring for patients and each other 

The good news is that treatment for mental health disorders tends to be highly effective. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have a significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.”

Through the work of the Department of Psychiatry, Eisenberg Family Depression Center, Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience, The Wellness Office and many more programs, Michigan Medicine offers the best care for our patients and our faculty and staff.  

To kick off Mental Health Awareness Month, please join colleagues across Michigan Medicine by marking this occasion and doing what you can to raise awareness. 

Here are a few tools to help you do just that: 

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows