If a friend were having a mental health crisis, would you be able to spot it or know what to do?
Do you know the warning signs of a mental illness? While majority of people most likely know someone who is dealing with a mental illness, as a community, our understanding and sensitivity to its prevalence, consequences and treatment are lacking.
We’ve made progress in the last several years for shaking the undeserved stigma of mental illness, as well as making treatment options more accessible. However, we still have a long way to go in order to ensure that help is available to everyone that needs it. October is Mental Health Awareness Month, which provides a great opportunity to bring attention to the issues surrounding mental illness and treatment.
Mental illness is typically a quiet, private tormentor that can rip apart families, ruin the careers and lives of once happy, productive adults and children. When untreated, mental illness becomes a significant contributor to homelessness, suicide, disability and inappropriate incarceration. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, individuals suffering with mental illness die 25 years earlier compared to other Americans, due to other treatable conditions that are complicated by mental health.
While most people associate mental illness with diagnoses like major depression and bipolar disorder, mental illnesses also includes anxiety, eating disorders, panic attacks, etc. Mental illnesses are typically invisible to the outside world, which is why recognizing the warning signs for a mental illness is an important skill.