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By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT – Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach

Lauri Leadley, Clinical Sleep Educator, President of Valley Sleep Center

Since 1949, the United States has been observing Mental Health Awareness Month or Mental Health Month in the month of May which was started by the Mental Health America organization.

Back then the organization was known by a different name – the National Association for Mental Health.

During the month of May, Mental Health America along with its affiliate partners as well as other organizations that focus on mental health, organize a number of theme-based activities – the theme for each year is different.

Last year, the theme for Mental Health Month was “4Mind4Body”. This year, the theme for 2019 has been expanded to focus on the role of animal companionship, spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections in improving mental health.

Related Article – Mental Health Month

We at Valley Sleep Center understand the significance of focusing and creating awareness on mental health.

As a professional sleep coach, I know how closely linked mental health problems are with poor quality sleep or sleep disorders.

Patients with untreated sleep disorders often suffer from mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety – in a lot of patients, sleep disorders and mental health problems often overlap.

For this reason, it is important that anyone suffering from sleep disorders or a mental health condition seek professional help at the earliest.

Raising Awareness for Mental Health Disorders

It is a well document fact that millions of Americans battle with different kinds of mental disorders. In 2017, this number had touched 46.6 million.

A large population of Americans also battle sleep disorders. In both conditions, the percentage of people who actively seek professional help to address their problems is dismal.

One of the reasons for this is that, for a very long time now, society has not looked kindly upon people suffering from mental health conditions. There is a certain stigma attached to the condition.

The sad truth is that even today, a lot of people push back seeking professional help because they feel a sense of embarrassment or because they feel ashamed.

In the US, two of the most common mental health conditions are depression and anxiety disorders.

Now there can be a variety of reasons that can lead to depression and anxiety in people including stress, substance abuse, grief, physical health conditions, and so on.

However, as a professional sleep coach, I also came across a substantial number of my patients who developed depression and anxiety disorders because of an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep deprivation, insomnia, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), among others.

Your body needs its quota of sleep (7-9 hours) on a daily basis. If for any reason you are unable to meet your sleep quote, over a period of time, it can cause serious damage to both your physical and mental health.

In fact, it was found that in more than 50% of cases, patients who were suffering from mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorders also suffered from some form of sleep disorder.

Here’s another stat – studies show that 1 in 5 people suffering from depression also suffered from OSA. In a majority of patients, those who were depressed also suffered from insomnia.

Although mental health should be a priority and on par with physical health for each one of us, the significance of mental health awareness for patients who suffer from chronic health conditions, both mental and physical, as well as for the people who care for them including professionals, family, and friends is especially important.

Goodwill Message from Valley Sleep Center

If you or anyone close to you suffers from mental health problems, please seek and encourage seeking of professional help. Don’t shy away from conversations about mental health.

The key to ensuring mental health gets its due space in our society is to collectively raise awareness – ask questions, generate conversations on the topic, encourage your family and friends to do the same.

It is only when we start normalizing conversations on mental health, can we create a space for greater acceptance and improvement in mental health treatment.

Valley Sleep Center – We can help you sleep better!

Do you or anyone close to you suffer from a sleep disorder? If yes, then you need help. Contact us at Valley Sleep Center for accurate analysis and treatment option for your sleep disorder.

To consult with professional sleep coach Lauri Leadley, please email us at sleep@valleysleepcenter.com.