Mental Health Month has been observed in the United States since 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization. During the month of May, all the affiliates and organizations conduct activities to raise awareness and ease the stigma.
Over 40 million American adults have a mental health condition and the youth’s mental health continues to worsen as the years pass by. And while the numbers continue to blow up, almost 80% of the people who have mental illness are left with no or insufficient treatment. Access to treatment and insurance increased with healthcare reforms but there is a serious mental health workforce shortage thus not everyone is given the care they need.
About 1 out of 5 people experience mental health issue, our friends or family members could be experiencing the symptoms. How to tell if someone is experiencing a crisis? How to recognize the signs? The following are some of the signs that will help you diagnose a mental health issue.
- Quiet or withdrawn. Too much isolation from people especially from loved ones and avoiding social activities might be a sign of a psychotic disorder.
- Emotional outburst. Extreme and dramatic changes in the mood.
- Sleep problems. Constantly changing sleep patterns, insomnia, sleeping too much or too little could be because of a sleeping disorder or depression.
- Appetite changes. Rapid and fluctuating weight loss or change in appetite could be a warning sign of an eating disorder.
- Substance abuse. Too much intake of alcohol or drugs.
- Feeling worthless. Constantly blaming themselves and can sometimes lead to hurting or killing themselves, the person had become suicidal.
- Feeling depressed. Losing interest in something he/she used to love, lacks motivation, sad and irritable, they could be dealing with depression.
- Feeling anxious. Restlessness, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of anxiety.
The stigma towards mental health issues should be stopped. Most people misunderstand these victims as ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’ when they’re undergoing something that is out of their control. How can we end the stigma?
- Get educated on mental health. Once you realize what it was all about, you can help and educate others.
- Talk openly about it. Be brave and share what you know to the world.
- Help stop criminalizing people with mental illness. The media often portrays these people wrongly. Fight back against the media who deflects the real criminals of the society.
- See the person, not the illness. They are not what their illness is.
- Support mental health reform. Empower people, do the right thing and treat others justly.
It is not easy to stop the stigma, it won’t go away easily. But if everyone takes part for the greater good anything is possible.