Mental health is a big part of overall health but there has been a stigma attached to it for years. For example, if you have cancer, diabetes or heart disease, people tend to be sympathetic, but if you suffer from depression or anxiety, there are still some who express the belief that those are “chosen” and not real disorders, that people can simply choose to be happy and well. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and one annual constant is the effort to dispel those misconceptions.
The truth of the matter is that we are all impacted by mental health issues in one way or another, whether personally or by someone we know. Here are some sobering facts from the National Council for Behavioral Health1:
- 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.
- Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness.
- One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24.
- Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
Perhaps in the year 2020, mental health awareness has become more real to virtually everyone as anxiety may no longer be something “imagined” by those labeled mentally unstable— it may have rooted itself as a daily experience for the mainstream masses. As many are being forced to practice self-care, sometimes as a solo act without being able to rely on the usual support network of friends and family, anxiety and depression may have become a reality for even some of the most stoic and resilient individuals.
Regardless of each person’s specific health concerns, mental or physical, the entire world is now jointly contemplating self-care. Even high-schoolers are already aware of the importance of health maintenance. A younger person may be more interested in having lots of energy during school hours spent entirely online and having the stamina to cram for exams. Or, those in their 20s and 30s may prioritize muscle building and weight management while awaiting the reopening of gyms. As aging progresses, the concern may transition to heart health, digestive efficiency and restful sleep. The older the individual, the more the focus may be on the range of ailments associated with premature aging of the brain and other vital organs. Nutraceutical industry leaders contend that “the age-related perspective has shifted towards solutions that are relevant throughout an individual’s lifespan.”2
There is no getting away from the fact that good nutrition and consistent physical activity are the keys to sustained health. You can cheat once in awhile but every one of us has to get back on the track of healthy nutrition and exercise. Active Wellness is important, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. This has been the Nikken approach from the company’s inception and continues. Eat well, exercise daily and stay safe!