Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States.
- More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime
- 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year
- 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness
- 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
- Suicide, which is often associated with symptoms of mental illness, is the 10th leading cause of death the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 15-34.
Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
The five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal are supported by evidence in the field of suicide prevention.
- ASK THE QUESTIONS
- BE THERE
- KEEP THEM SAFE
- HELP THEM CONNECT
- FOLLOW UP
Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Learn more about Mental Health at https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth and Suicide at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org and https://www.bethe1to.com/bethe1to-steps-evidence/.