Today is World Mental Health Day. Mental health is a topic that definitely needs more attention. Oftentimes mental health is not a priority due to the stigma that is associated with mental illness. The negative judgement, discrimination, stereotypes, and negative comments often cause those that are suffering silently to avoid seeking help.
Mental health stigma can cause many effects. As previously stated, those suffering silently may avoid seeking help. Those that are receiving treatment may discontinue treatment due to stigma and lack of support. When loved ones, coworkers, friends, and others display negative behavior, this can make coping with mental illness all the more difficult. Bullying, embarrassment, and harassment can cause, and aggravate, mental health symptoms. Mental illness and stigma can also affect self esteem. When any or all of the mentioned factors come into play, those living with mental disorders may begin to develop negative self thoughts.
It is important to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness. Common signs and symptoms of mental illness include: feeling down, depressed, or hopeless, frequent mood changes, becoming easily agitated, frequent confusion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, frequent unexplained tiredness, difficulty sleeping, delusions, hallucinations, frequently feeling anxious, paranoia, difficulty coping with daily situations, stressors, and people, changes in appetite or eating habits, multiple symptoms that cannot be linked to a medical cause, beginning or increasing drug or alcohol use, increased anger, hostility, violence, suicidal thoughts, and homicidal thoughts.
It’s okay to not be okay; just never give up. If you are concerned about changes in your mental health, or if you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, it’s okay to voice your concerns. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of worsening mental illness. Routine primary care and mental health professional followups are important. Whether it be routine appointments, medication, counseling, support groups, or a combination, compliance is very important for the management of your mental health. Taking care of your physical health can help balance your mental health. Declining physical health can impact your mental health. When a change in either is noticed, it is very important to notify your healthcare provider or mental health professional. Try to work on improving your sleep hygiene, consume healthy meals, become and remain physically active, and engage in healthy conversations.
If you or a loved one shows signs of mental illness, it is important to have a support system in place. Help is available. Knowing you are loved and supported can be a major key in the deciding factor to seek help. If suicidal or homicidal thoughts occur, or if any mental health emergency occurs, there are many options available to get help. Go to the ER or call 911. Contact your primary care provider or mental health specialist. Reach out to someone you can trust. There is also a 24 hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available. The number is 1-800-273-8255.