As part of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we hope to shine a light on support resources available to you and your families. If you or someone you care about needs help coping with life’s challenges, you are not alone. Mental health challenges are real, and recovery is possible.
Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States, with an estimated 1 in 5 Americans experiencing some form mental illness in any given year.
There is no single cause for mental illness. Several factors can increase the risk for mental illness, such as:
- Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse;
- Experiences related to other chronic medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes;
- Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain;
- Alcohol or drug use; or
- Having feelings of loneliness or isolation.
At DHS, there are readily available tools and resources to support you if you or someone you care about are struggling with issues related to your mental health. These resources can help you get the quality of care needed to live a healthy, fulfilling life.
- Your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help strengthen your coping skills, and is a good first call for any questions or concerns you have about your mental health or the mental health of someone you care about. EAP provides you and your eligible household members with free and confidential support for a wide array of personal challenges. EAP assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, contact your Component EAP.
- DHS Components with peer support programs have trained peer volunteers to provide support for colleagues with work related or personal issues. This service is confidential with limited exceptions. For more information, contact your Component Work-Life POC or your Component HR Office to connect you with the peer support program lead.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and works to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is a free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and substance use disorders.
- Your Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program provides health plans with a variety of mental health services that can help you and your family.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has several mobile apps with tools to help focus on mental health. These apps include tools for managing insomnia, practicing mindfulness, exploring physical fitness, smoking cessation, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. To learn more and access these apps visit, VA Mobile Apps – My HealtheVet.
- The Columbia Protocol app offers suicide risk assessment through a series of simple questions that anyone can ask. The answers help you identify whether someone is at risk for suicide, assess the severity and immediacy of that risk, and gauge the level of support that someone may need.
- Your Component Work-Life team has programs that support emotional, psychological, and social well-being in the workplace and at home. They offer resources available to focus on common life stressors, such as dependent care, personal relationships, financial literacy, and legal concerns. To learn more, contact your contact your Worklife Agency Coordinator or send an email to email@example.com.
While May is Mental Health Awareness month, it is important to focus on your overall health and mental well-being every day. These resources and other work-life programs are available throughout the year to assist you in those efforts.