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May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. The month-long observance is intended to raise awareness about mental disorders and related issues. Even though there is still a long way to go in promoting understanding of mental illness, leaders in the field have made a lot of progress. Negative attitudes and stigmas traditionally associated with mental illnesses are dialing down. As people understand more about these illnesses, they are better able to take measures to prevent them in their own lives and to support others who may be dealing with them.

We place a lot of emphasis on caring for our physical health, but it’s also imperative to care for our mental health. Here are some benefits that come with improved mental health care:

  • Better physical health – The mind and the body are closely related. Physical problems can lead to mental distress, and yet a person who seeks help for both typically get more attention for their physical concerns. Studies, however, have shown that when the mental problems are addressed, physical improvement often follows.
  • Improved productivity and financial stability – People with mental health disorders often face economic troubles, as they are unable to work productively. When the mental health problems are treated, they can often return to work and regain financial independence.
  • Less strain on the family – A person with mental health issues may depend heavily on their loved ones. Family members may need to help with treatment appointments and medication requirements. With ongoing care, a person with mental disorders may get to the point where they can be more independent, thus relieving burdens on relatives.
  • Avoidance of crime and victimization – People with mental illness are at increased risk of committing crimes or becoming victims of crimes themselves. The risk becomes higher if the mental illness is related to substance abuse. People with addictions often carry out crimes in order to get money to support their chemical dependence.
  • Longer, happier life – The life expectancy of a person with mental illness is significantly lower than those who are mentally healthy. Treating mental health disorders will enable a person to live a longer and happier life.

If you or someone you know needs care for their mental health issues, be proactive in getting help. Don’t worry about stigmas or the judgment of others. Everyone deserves to get the care they need for mental ailments every bit as much as for physical ones.