Mental Awareness

Mental Health Awareness month – What you need to know

Mental illness is condition related to brain that affects our thinking, emotions, expression and behavior. We all have brain, which means in our life time we all will experience some kind of mental problem or condition. Whether the problem is small or major, we should be able to understand we have an issue and if we needed we should express and get help. Reason is, sometimes what seems to be a simple matter for others could drain a person mentally and could lead to severe mental illness.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which means a month to raise awareness of various mental health conditions and campaigning for mental wellness of everyone. Many times because of negligence mental health issues of individuals goes unnoticed. Mental health issues, of both youth and adults, are too often left in the periphery of the public eye, leaving individuals who are living with mental conditions to cope by themselves. Everybody knows somebody who lives with a mental illness, whether it is depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar, post traumatic stress or other mental health illnesses. Most of us know someone or have lived with a mental illness themselves without any support.

Mental illness is more common when compared to other diseases and conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. It can happen to anyone- irrespective of one’s external beauty, how intelligent he or she is, or how wealthy a person is!

Mental health and substance abuse disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide.  Approximately 800,000 people commit suicide every year.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 adults have a diagnosable mental disorder. And that statistic is the same for children and teens — 1 in 5 ages 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness. What many do not know is that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 15-24 and 90 percent of those who committed suicide had an underlying mental illness.

Mental illness can happen due to genetic link or the trauma in life like divorce, break up, chronic pain, abuse etc. An early identification and intervention can help the person to overcome this illness.

Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible. However, not all of us think about our mental health enough. Many people struggle with mental health problems, but find it difficult to start addressing their concerns because they don’t really know what’s going on or how to describe what’s happening in their minds. Other times it feels frustrating when others tell us how we should feel or that what we are feeling is wrong or bad.

Recognize these symptoms in you or with a person whom you feel is going through mental illness.

1) Changes in energy levels and sleep patterns

2) Noticeable restlessness and irritability

3) Loss of interest or pleasure activities.

4) Feeling loneliness every now and then

5) Feeling hopeless, empty, worthless and guilty

6) Difficulties in concentrating or decision-making

7) Increase in anger level, hurting oneself

8) Drastic change in appetite, weight and eating habit

9) Frequent thought of death or suicide

 Some of the common mental health disorders are:

1) Anxiety: Anxiety disorders are illnesses that cause people to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Left untreated, these disorders can dramatically reduce productivity and significantly diminish an individual’s quality of life.

2) Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood and energy. Bipolar disorder (also called manic depression) is a serious medical condition that causes extremes in a person’s mood and behavior.

3) Depression: Depression is often under-recognized and under-treated in older adults. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism Irritability and Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness are few symptoms.

4) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: If you have gone through a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel lots of emotions, such as distress, fear, helplessness, guilt, shame or anger. You may start to feel better after days or weeks, but sometimes, these feelings don’t go away. If the symptoms last for more than a month, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

5) Psychosis : This is a general term to describe a set of symptoms of mental illnesses that result in strange or bizarre thinking, perceptions (sight, sound), behaviors, and emotions. Psychosis is a brain-based condition that is made better or worse by environmental factors – like drug use and stress.

One in four people have a mental illness yet less than half are getting the help they need—many because they are afraid others will judge them. In case yourself or your loved ones are going through any of the above symptoms make a call to your doctor and explain the symptoms. Based on the symptoms your doctor may refer you to a specialist or mental health professional. There is nothing to feel bad or worry. Take it positively as much as you can and it is for your better and a happy life. Learn to spot the signs of an upcoming mood change, so you can act on it quickly. For example, if you notice that you are talking rapidly or having racing thoughts, you may try to avoid situations with too much activity. Take care of your health and reduce the stress in your life as much as possible. There will always be a solution for a problem.

Do not worry about things, which is not in your control. Take care of things that is affordable and you feel comfortable. Health is wealth and make sure that happens to you.


Image credit: The Ford Family Foundation:

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: May 18, 2020

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