Mental Health: Why It’s Finally Trending

Mental health: why it finally matters

What do pop star Lady Gaga, NBA legend Magic Johnson and British royal family member Prince Harry all have in common? Besides being famous, they’ve all been speaking up recently on an issue that didn’t use to get much attention—mental health. Our Luminis Health experts say the conversation is coming not a moment too soon.

We’re now seeing the value of mental health

By sharing their experiences, many celebrities, athletes and other public figures are putting in bold headlines what many people have struggled with quietly for years. Previous generations might have swept mental health problems under the rug for fear of being thought of as “weak,” but we now know that silence can do more harm than good.

Developing your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing is a sure sign of strength. It helps you get along well with the people around you and make good choices throughout your day. And working to maintain positive mental health can pay off throughout your life. For example, strong mental health helps us all:

  • Cope with stress
  • Contribute to our communities
  • Feel happy and safe
  • Reach our full potential
  • Work productively

When celebrities talk about their mental health challenges, it helps spread the word that it’s OK to speak up when you’re not feeling quite right. And it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. Our minds are just as important to take care of as the rest of our bodies, and just as important to our overall health.

We’re learning from the pandemic

We’re also talking more about our mental health lately because COVID-19, of course, delivered it such a big blow. So many of us experienced stress, worry, fear and anger and the heavy toll those all can take on our lives and health.

In the summer of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted a major increase in the number of people reporting behavioral health symptoms. In one survey, one in three people said they were feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression, and one in 10 said they were having serious thoughts of suicide. Those rates are nearly double what the CDC would have expected before the pandemic.

Awareness also continues to grow around children’s mental health issues. Pediatric emergency rooms have seen an increase in mental health visits during COVID. The mental health needs of kids and adults will continue, and it’s important to keep talking about how to make sure we address them.

We’re talking more about how to cope

Thankfully, it has become more common to talk about the everyday ways you can support your mental health. We now know some healthy strategies that can help us all cope in hard times. For example:

  • Finding time to connect with others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying physically active
  • Helping others
  • Trying to stay positive

When that isn’t enough, there’s another key step—finding help. New resources are being set up in our communities, schools and workplaces to connect more people to professional mental health resources where and when it’s needed. Luminis Health, for example, recently broke ground on a new mental health facility in Prince George’s County and is taking other steps to meet community needs.

Join the conversation

Celebrities might have started the mental health conversation trending, but you don’t have to be famous to join in. Check in with your friends and loved ones to make sure they’re truly doing OK and offer your support. And if you’ve been feeling “off” yourself lately and think you might need help, talk to your primary care provider. They can quickly connect you to the right resources to help you start feeling more like yourself again.

Together, we can get past old stigmas and shine a new light on how we can help each other. Our mental health is too important to ignore.

Eshe Montague is the director of our behavioral health program at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. Eshe Montague is the director of our behavioral health program at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. To learn more about the services coming to Prince George’s County this summer, visit Luminis.Health/BehavioralHealth.