Mental Health Matters

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and May 18th is Mental Health Action Day. Mental illnesses are health conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior, mood, or a combination of these. These conditions deeply impact everyday living and may also affect a person’s ability to interact with and relate to others [1].

If you have — or think you might have — a mental illness, know that you are not alone. There is help available. Mental health conditions are far more common than you think. In the US, more than one in five adults experiences a mental health illness, and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health struggles for many people [1,2]. Mental health disorders can worsen symptoms of physical health conditions – like fatigue, high blood pressure, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, headache, skin conditions – or increase risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes [3,4].

Mental Illness Facts from the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) [1]:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Mental Health Concerns are Worsened by Structural Inequities and Systemic Racism

In BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and other systematically minoritized populations like the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus) community, mental health concerns are worsened by structural inequities and systemic racism [5]. Many community groups exist to increase awareness and access to care, and we have listed a few resources below.

If you or someone you know has been struggling with sadness, worry, depression, anxiety, or difficulties with thoughts, feelings, or actions, we here at Link Community Clinic want you to know that there is help available. NAMI reminds us, “mental illnesses are not a result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing, and they cannot be overcome through willpower.” Effective treatments exist. An individualized treatment plan can range from counseling therapy, to medications, lifestyle changes, to mindfulness, or any combination of these treatments and more. Serious mental illnesses require specialized psychiatric care – and your primary care provider can help you connect to these specialists – however, much of mental illness care can be started and supported through the primary care provider’s office. If you feel you are struggling with mental illness and are seeking a whole person approach to your care, please call our office to meet with one of our doctors.

graphic with a caption reading "You Are Not Alone"
graphic with a caption reading "You Are More Than Enough"

Below, you will find resources to learn more about mental health and mental illness, as well as resources to access mental health care:

Get Immediate Help in a Mental Health Crisis

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or go to the nearest emergency room.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call or text 988; Llame al 988 (para ayuda en español)
Use Lifeline Chat on the web (English only)
The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Resources to Get Help

Local Resources

Kids’ Mental Health Pierce County:

King County Community Mental Health Resources:

NAMI Seattle – BIPOC Mental Health Resources:

Pierce County Behavioral Health Services Locator:

Therapy Fund Foundation for the Black Community:

Washington Health Alliance – LGBTQ+ Mental Health Resources:

Washington State Department of Health Teens and Young Adults:

Online Directories/Resources

Asian Mental Health Collective:

Guide to Mental Health Resources for BIPOC Mental Health:

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Directory:

Melanin and Mental Health:

WeRNative, Health Resources for Native Youth by Native Youth:

Resources to Learn More About Mental Health

Mental Health Action Day:

National Institute of Mental Health – Mental Health Information:

National Alliance for Mental Illness – Mental Health Awareness Month:

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department – Behavioral Health:


[1] National Alliance on Mental Illness. About mental illness. Accessed 30 April 2023.

[2] Czeisler MÉ, Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, June 24-30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(32):1049-1057.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About mental health. Reviewed 25 April 2023.

[4] Aarons GA, Monn AR, Leslie LK, Garland AF, Lugo L, Hough RL, Brown SA. Association between mental and physical health problems in high-risk adolescents: a longitudinal study. J Adolesc Health. 2008 Sep;43(3):260-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.01.013. Epub 2008 May 2. PMID: 18710681.

[5] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Health Equity? Updated 1 July 2022.

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