Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings. 

Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. The month came about by presidential proclamation.  

Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes
  • Thinking about suicide

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help.  Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor.

If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.

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Too Much Sugar Harms Your Body

Sweet granulated refined white sugar cubes for unhealthy diet habit or food ingredient addiction.

Diabetes

Sugary drinks in particular can boost your odds for type 2 diabetes. This can happen because when sugar stays in your blood, your body may react by making less of the hormone insulin, which converts the food you eat into energy.

High Blood Pressure

Salt gets the blame for this condition, also called hypertension, researchers say another white crystal — sugar, is the worrisome culprit. 1 way they believe sugar raises blood pressure is by making your insulin levels spike too high. Making your blood vessels less flexible and cause your kidneys to hold onto water and sodium. Sugary diets are bad for your heart, regardless of how much you weigh.

Liver Disease

Packaged foods, snacks, and drinks are sweetened with fructose, a simple sugar from fruits or veggies like corn. Your liver turns it into fat. If you regularly pump fructose into your body, tiny drops of fat build up in your liver. This is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Early diet changes can reverse it. But over time, swelling and scarring can damage your liver.

Cavities

You know sugar rots your teeth. It feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which leave behind acid that wears away your tooth enamel. Sugary drinks, dried fruits, candy, and chocolate are common offenders. Sour candies are among the worst. They’re almost as acidic as battery acid! If you eat tart treats, rinse your mouth with water afterward or drink some milk to neutralize the acid.

Mood Problems

Feeling down? Your sweet tooth may be part of the problem. Several studies have linked sugar and mental health problems. One of the latest showed that men who ate more than 66 grams of sugar a day — almost double what’s recommended — were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression than men who ate 40 grams or less. Too much sugar could fuel depression through swelling, or inflammation, in your brain, which is more common in people with depression.

Aging

Sugary drinks may add years to your biological age. DNA called telomeres cap the end of your chromosomes to protect them from damage. Longer is better. Shortened telomeres may go hand in hand with age-related diseases like diabetes. One study found that people who drink 20 ounces of soda a day have shorter telomeres. Researchers figure that’s like adding more than 4 years to the age of your cells.