Understanding mental health issues as a public health threat

May 5, 2024, 5:30 AM | Updated: May 6, 2024, 3:52 pm




SALT LAKE CITY – According to the latest Axios-Ipsos American Health Index, almost 90% of people say mental health problems are one of the biggest public health threats in society.

In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Frank Anderson, psychiatrist, trauma specialist and author of  To Be Loved: A Story of Truth, Trauma, and Transformation, to learn more about the study as well as what we can do to tackle these mental health concerns.


People seem to be more stressed now than they ever were, and Dr. Anderson thinks the pandemic had a lot to do with it.

“I think the world has not recovered from it yet. I think the world is still reeling,” he said.

But that’s not all. Dr. Anderson also listed the economy and politics as two of several underlying reasons why our mental health isn’t at its best state. Although everyone struggles with this, the geriatric and adolescent populations in particular tend to be impacted the most.

Step 1: Identify your mental health concern

The first step to addressing this issue is to acknowledge it if you’re struggling. There’s a big difference between being aware and being unaware of whether you’re going through something overwhelming in your life.

“You can’t change something or fix something if you can’t acknowledge it happened … A lot of people push trauma away and want to bury it because they want to move forward. Let’s do it differently,” Dr. Anderson said.

Step 2: Appreciate your responses to those concerns

The next step is to appreciate your trauma responses.

“Understand your responses are normal adaptations. Don’t be critical of yourself or others’ behavior around you. You have to appreciate the way you’re trying to manage it … It opens the door to more vulnerability,” Dr. Anderson said.

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Understanding mental health issues as a public health threat