IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
In the “olden days” a person with a mental health issue could be shut away in an upstairs bedroom or locked up in a facility not receiving proper treatment. Today, the stigma has lessened, although it may still be present, and there are many resources available. May is Mental Health Month and we have some resources to share with you or your loved ones.
PUBLIC AWARENESS = PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to raise our public awareness which is then followed by an increase in public acceptance. For example, Robin Williams’ suicide focused our attention on depression. Homeless veterans living on the streets focused our attention on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Celebrity overdoses or recoveries temporarily focus our attention on drug and alcohol addiction.
DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE?
There are a number of free screening tests offered by the Mental Health America organization.
THEY RECOMMEND GETTING A PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION IF A PERSON IS EXPERIENCING THESE SYMPTOMS:
- Change in energy and sleep patterns
- Noticeable restlessness or irritability
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulties with concentration or decisions making
- Changes in appetite, eating habits or weight
MENTAL HEALTH FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS
As parents, it’s our job to keep an eye open to symptoms of mental health issues which could be developing. You may think it couldn’t happen to your children – but think again.
ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL
ALLIANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS:
Keep an eye open for the symptoms we mentioned, and make sure you get the help you (or your children) need.
- More than 20% of youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder.
- More than 13% of those aged 8–15 experience a severe mental health episode or condition.
- 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
- Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24.