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Mental Health Mayday: Americans on Collision Course with Catastrophe

Mental Health Awareness Month marks a strikingly increased crisis in the United States 

More than 50 million adults endure mental illness every year in the United States, that’s according to the latest report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. One in six children experience a mental health disorder, with suicide being the second-leading cause of death in children ages 10 to 14. Perhaps surprising statistics to some, but not to Dr. Sheehan David Fisher, a leading expert on mental and behavioral health at Chicago’s prestigious Northwestern University.

“America is in a mental health crisis., one that has only increased since the pandemic. Everyone assumed things would resume per status quo when COVID-19 was controlled, however, that has not been the case. The pandemic tossed us in the fire, and many are still trying to escape,” says Dr. Fisher.

In fact, the JAMA Health Forum notes a 38% increase in people seeking mental health care today than before the onset of the pandemic, a staggering leap.

“If you turn on the news today, you could point to numerous reasons Americans are stressed, inflation, war, climate crisis, the heightened political arena, and its effect on decades-old policies. There is undoubtedly a lot to be worried about, and it seems America is so divided there are days where we are at each other’s throats, but we cannot sustain this level of tensity, it will boil over and we can already see that in many aspects of society,” notes Dr. Fisher.

Angelica Spicer and Dr. Sheehan David Fisher speaking on stage at MommyMoon.
Comedian and activist, Angelina Spicer, and Dr. Sheehan David Fisher, a leading expert on mental and behavioral health at MommyCon.

So, what can we do? First, it’s important to note if you are experiencing a mental health crisis to seek professional help immediately. NAMI Chicago offers a free and confidential helpline open seven days a week. But it’s also important to note, that you do not have to be in a crisis to seek mental health support. Talk to your doctor or care provider to find the best resource for you.

Sometimes something as simple as utilizing self-care tips can be effective, make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep, exercise, choose healthy food and drinks, and stay away from alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products.

Another heightened source of stress and anxiety today, particularly prevalent in the adolescent community is social media. Increasing evidence over the last decade has identified the negative effects of social media on pre-teens and teenagers.

“It’s important parents and guardians are aware of the potential harm it can cause and note that many experts agree that limits should be placed on children’s use of social media. Still, just as each child is different, parents and guardians should take heed and use the same guidelines when it comes to granting access to social media, just because you feel one child is ready at a certain age, does not mean the same for another child,” adds Dr. Fisher.

Dr. Fisher is an internationally recognized research and clinical expert at Northwestern University whose expertise is in mental health, behavioral health, and psychology as it relates to medical health, world events, and cultural topics.

For more information about Dr. Fisher, click here.

Read more news on mental health.

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