According to the United States’ Center for Disease Control (ᴄᴅᴄ), over half of all people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.[1] This is an undercount since not everyone who has one receives a diagnosis. Even worse, only around 40% of people with a mental disorder ever receive treatment. The World Health Organization (ᴡʜᴏ) reports 1 in 8 people worldwide currently live with a mental disorder (970 million). Anxiety (301 million) and depression (280 million) are the most common.[2] Even if you personally have not suffered from a mental health condition, it’s a near certainty you know someone who does.

Mental health is an increasingly important topic within global health. As awareness of this issue grows, more people are seeking ways to care for their mental health, similar to how we care for our physical health. (In truth, the two are closely related.) However, knowing where to start can be a challenge and it depends on where one is on their mental health journey. 

We (Dave Cortright and Emily Jennings) have therefore decided to put together this Mental Health Roadmap Series, through which we’ll introduce a way of thinking about one’s mental health journey and conceptualizing how to best place oneself on a mental health map. 

This will be a 6-part series, where we introduce one topic each month. Here’s a short outline of what we’ll be covering over the next six months:

  1. Discovering Mental Health: What it is and what’s involved
  2. Exploring Therapy and Self-Help
  3. Processing Experiences and Emotions
  4. Therapy with a Mission: Using therapy as a tool
  5. Learning New Skills: Skills to build and mindsets to be aware of
  6. Maintenance: Mental health over time

It is worth noting that mental health, emotions, and relationships are all tightly intertwined. Quality relationships are at the foundation of mental health, and not just with others but also—and especially—with yourself. Emotions are the language we use to navigate our relationships. Relationships and emotions will appear as common threads throughout this series. 

While there are opportunities to learn and practice on your own, and it is encouraged that you explore those as first and necessary step, a key component of this work involves connecting vulnerably with trusted people. Though this can be uncomfortable, it is the best path to take toward making progress. Since we humans are by nature social creatures, connecting with others can help your healing, and ensures that you never have to go through this process alone :)

Finally, in order to make significant progress, you'll need to be pretty candid with yourself and willing to fully embrace the truth, even when it comes to the parts that fill you with regret, grief, rage, or shame, and that might therefore be pretty difficult to confront. 

Since it can be unpleasant, inconvenient, and overwhelming to confront these thoughts and feelings, (especially those that might pop up unexpectedly!), we recommend starting small and then building up. When it gets overwhelming, just remember, you are always in full control of the amount of information you disclose, as well as when you choose to disclose it, and to whom you choose to disclose it. 

We hope that spacing posts out in 1-week intervals will give people time to process what each post says and dig into the resources we share. It will also allow us the opportunity to hear feedback from the community and use that to hone our approach as we go. We're looking forward to going on this journey with you. ❤️


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Looking forward to this!

While I do like spacing things out, 1 month between posts seems like a long time to me


Thanks for your feedback Rasool! We'll take it into consideration :)

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