Volume 42 | April 28, 2021
News & Updates
Special Edition
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Mental Health America started Mental Health Month (MHM) in 1949 to communicate the importance of mental health to overall health.

Key Messages from this year's campaign:
  • Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable
  • While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevents individuals from seeking help
  • There are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency, regardless of the situations they are dealing with. 

Click here to request a download of the 2021 MHM Toolkit
Facts about Mental Health
What is mental health?
According to the CDC, 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.
Why is it important?
Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.
How common are mental illnesses?
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.

What causes mental illness?
There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as
  • Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
  • Experiences related to other ongoing (chronic) medical condition such as cancer or diabetes.
  • Biological factors, such as genes or chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation
Visit the CDC website to learn more
Downloadable Fact Sheets on Common Mental Health Conditions:
The State of Our Mental Health
The State of Mental Health in America Report
Mental Health America analyzed data collected from their online screening tool in both January and September of 2020. Their findings:
  • 19% (47.1 million) of people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition, a 1.5 million increase over last year’s report.
  • More than 1.5 million people have taken MHA’s online screening and looked for immediate resources and support at MHAscreening.org.
  • Nearly 180,000 people who took the screening reported suicidal ideation on more than half the days or nearly every day, with the highest reported number of 37% in September 2020.
  • Rates of suicidal ideation are highest among youth, especially LGBTQ+ youth. In September 2020, over half of 11-17-year-olds reported having thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks. From Jan. to Sept. 2020, nearly 78,000 youth reported experiencing frequent suicidal ideation, including nearly 28,000 LGBTQ+ youth. 
  • Between April and Sept., 70% of people reported that loneliness or isolation was the top contributing factor to mental health issues, followed by past trauma (46.1%) and relationship problems (42%).
For more adult data from Mental Health America, click here
Statewide and Regional Pre-Pandemic Youth Data
Even before COVID-19 and its adverse effects on mental health, data showed that our youth were struggling.

CT Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2019
2019 Attitudes and Behaviors Survey Data in Region 5
Mental Health and Suicide
While the presence of a mental health condition may contribute to increased suicide risk, it is important to note that the majority of people who live with mental health conditions will not die by suicide.
Many people learn to manage their mental health conditions just as they would other health conditions. Becoming knowledgeable about your own, or a loved one’s, mental health condition, and participating in effective treatment for it, is an important way to manage it, and live more fully at home, and in relationships and at work. Learn more here.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Misuse
  • Many individuals who develop substance use disorders (SUD) are also diagnosed with mental disorders, and vice versa.
  • Research suggests that adolescents with substance use disorders also have high rates of co-occurring mental illness.
  • Substance use disorders also co-occur at high prevalence with mental disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Patients with schizophrenia have higher rates of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use disorders than the general population.
Read the NIH report here
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grassroots organization dedicated to building better lives of people affected by mental illness. Download these fact sheets:
Mental Health Care Matters
Mental health treatment- therapy, medication, self-care- make recovery a reality for people. Explore the data within this fact sheet.
Warning Signs of Mental Illness
Diagnosing mental illness isn't as straightforward a science as testing for a disease like diabetes. Learn the common warning signs and what to do if you are concerned about someone.
AFSP has developed their own campaign to raise awareness during Mental Health Month

Click here for their partner toolkit complete with social media posts and many other resources in both English and Spanish.
Screening Tool
From Mental Health America

Finding the Right Treatment Provider
From the CT Clearinghouse
Crisis and Helplines
Text CT to 741 741

For 24/7 access to substance use treatment, including detox and transportation in CT, call the Access Line at 1-800-563-4086.
Call to Action During Mental Health Month
Things we can all do starting today!
  • Prevention Partners can share this newsletter and download the resources
  • We can all have conversations about mental health
  • Practice self-care by taking time to relax, have some fun, exercise, eat healthy and socialize safely; learn some new healthy coping skills like meditation, yoga, or listening to music
  • If you are worried about a loved one, friend, or even yourself, seek treatment; it's ok to ask for help and help is available
  • Check in with your neighbors and older adults who may feel isolated or lonely
  • Support youth with kindness and care and be a trusted adult; check out Gizmo's Pawesome Guide to Mental Health. A Storytime Read Along is taking place during National Prevention Week:
Self-Care Fact Sheets and Tips:
Attend one of our Upcoming Trainings in May:
Workforce Development upcoming training opportunities