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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeHealth & FitnessThe month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month so... LET’S TALK...

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month so… LET’S TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

Mental wellness is our ability to engage with our emotions, thoughts, interactions with others, and the world around us. Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act every day and plays a big role in our overall well-being.

The terms “mental health condition” and “men­tal illness” interchangeably refer to a variety of mental illnesses, identified by a health pro­vider, including, but not limited to, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders. Such conditions are physical illnesses that result when one of the many mechanisms of the brain is not adequate­ly doing its job. The best way to protect your mental health is to pay attention to it even when you’re feeling alright or even good. Just like with our physical health we can do things that make us mentally healthier and happier.

Learning that someone you love has a mental health condition can be frightening. People ex­periencing episodes of mental illness—and the people who care for them—need information. However, that information is not always readily available and the search for answers may require more energy and persistence than what we have available in times of crisis. When a mental health condition is present, the potential for a crisis is never far from mind.

What follows are some facts about the preva­lence of mental illness in the United States:

  • 1 in 5 adults—43.8 million or 18.5%—expe­riences mental illness in a given year
  • Among the 20.2 million adults who expe­rienced a substance use condition, 50.5% (10.2 million adults) had a co-occurring mental illness
  • 1 in 5 youth aged 13-18 (21.4%) experienc­es a severe mental health condition at some point during their life; for children aged 8-15 that estimate is 13%
  • 60% of all adults and almost 50% of all youth ages 8-15 with a mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year
  • 50% of adults with mental illness report ex­periencing symptoms prior to the age of 14; 75% prior to the age of 24.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov

Crisis episodes related to mental illness can feel overwhelming. There is the initial shock, followed by a flood of questions.

  • Why him/ her?
  • Why me?
  • What went wrong?
  • Why is this happening now?
  • What did we do?
  • What didn’t we do?
  • What can we do?

Everyone can feel overwhelmed, confused, or experience anger, grief or guilt. It’s important to remember that we all do the best that we can with the information and resources we have available to us. Like any other health crisis, it’s important to address a mental health emergency quickly and effectively.

Crises can occur even when treatment plans have been followed and mental health profes­sionals are actively involved. Unfortunately, unpredictability is the nature of mental illness. Unlike other health emergencies, people expe­riencing mental health crises often don’t receive instructions or materials on what to expect after the crisis. It is also possible that the first point of contact may be with law enforcement personnel instead of medical personnel, since behavioral disturbances and substance use are frequently part of the difficulties associated with mental ill­ness.

In a crisis, we have available to us a number of ways to get immediate help other than dial­ing 911. The National Crisis Lifeline is reached by dialing or texting “988” which routes a person by way of their area code to that code’s location –– which may not be the location of the person calling. It may be better for us to use “844-772- 4724” which is a regional phone number con­necting you to a free 24/7 service. When call­ing, ask for the “Lake County Crisis Response Team” currently coordinated by HDC: the Hu­man Development Center. You may also TEXT: “MN” to 741741.

We all have mental health every day and men­tal illness can be intimidating and self-defeat­ing but remember:

  • You are not alone
  • This is not your fault
  • You deserve help and support
  • There is support available for you.

Article by Dean Rudloff, member of the Lake County Mental Health Task Force, the North Shore Mental Health Group, and the Vail Place Clubhouse Coalition – organizations committed to mental wellness, supporting one’s ability to thrive despite the challenges of mental illness.

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