Mental Health Awareness

Mental+Health+Awareness

Kendall Smith

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness can refer to a wide range of health disorders. These illnesses are health problems that essentially affect how a person thinks, behaves and how they interact with their peers. Mental illness is often diagnosed with a standard criterion. Examples such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and etc.

Over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. have severe depression, and multiracial youth are at the greatest risk. Nationally, fewer than 1 in 3 youth with severe depression receive consistent mental health care. Rates of substance use are at an increase for youth and adults, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both adults and youth in the U.S. continue to lack adequate insurance coverage and over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment.

One in eight people in the world live with mental disorder and illness and most people do not have access to effective health care and those who are seeking help often cannot afford the treatments offered.

Most Common Mental Health Issues/ Disorders:

Anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

What can Cause Mental Illness?

There is never just one single cause for a mental illness. It can be genetic, in your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse like childhood trauma, biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain, traumatic brain injury, a mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant, the use of alcohol or recreational drugs, and feeling lonely or isolated and many more. Even very young children can show possible signs of mental illness and disorders.

They are clinically diagnosable and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors. Over half of mental health disorders begin to show first signs when a child reaches the age of 14. Unfortunately, only half of the children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Supporting a child’s mental healthcare needs earlier on will help the child before it interferes with other developmental needs.

Symptoms and Treatment

A mental illness can cause frequent stress to your ability to function. It can make you feel miserable, make simple tasks a hassle, cause problems in your everyday life such as in relationships, at school or at work.

These symptoms include feeling sad or down, being confused or reduced ability to concentrate, excessive fears, worries or feelings of guilt, extreme highs and lows, withdrawal from friends and activities, significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping, detachment from reality, paranoia or hallucinations, inability to cope with daily problems or stress,

trouble understanding things, relating to situations and people, problems with alcohol or drug use, and major changes in eating habits.

In majority of cases symptoms can be managed with the proper medications and psychotherapy. Other effective treatments include participating in support groups, or even creating a self-improvement plan.

How to Help

If a loved one shows obvious signs of a mental illness or disorder, have an open conversation with that person about the concerns. This person may not be open towards professional help, but give that person love and support. Learn about the illness and make sure it is known that the illness does not make that person broken or damaged, check in and ask if there is anything that needs to be done or helped with.

Remember to get help too. It is hard to be there for someone when the person trying to help also needs support. It can be really hard on someone. Everyone needs to be aware of the necessary steps and needs. It is okay for a person to admit needing help, self care is important.

If someone is struggling with any mental illness do not excuse it. Take the steps needed and be an emotional support for this person. Mental stability and health are important. If anyone needs help do not be afraid to reach out to someone trusted or to a trained professional. Do not be silent, speak up about these things.

If anyone is currently struggling with mental illness please reach out to the following websites or someone who is trusted.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline 
(800) 950-6264

National Eating Disorders Association 
(800) 931-2237

The Compassionate Friends 
(877) 969-0010

National Youth Talk-line 
(800) 246-7743