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Understanding Mental Health

Understanding Mental Health

Mental Health America defines mental illness as a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Commonly diagnosed disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.  Symptoms center on changes in mood, personality and social withdrawal. Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress caused by a particular situation or series of events. Additionally, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these.

Nearly 54 million Americans experience mental health issues each year but navigating life with a mental health condition can still be tough. People with mental disorders often report feelings of isolation and feel that their condition needs to be kept secret. The negative stigma associated with mental disorders can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. It’s important to know how to identify when someone needs help and what you can do to help.

Here are a few things to look for

  • Social Withdrawal
  • Drop in functioning. An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems concentrating
  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch
  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
  • Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

How to help

If someone you know seems to be experiencing the symptoms above, the best thing to do is have an open conversation with them. Listen to what they have to say and provide them with encouragement and support. It can also be beneficial to help them contact the proper mental health provider. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.

If you are have questions or concerns about feelings you’ve been experiencing, please know that you are not alone and help is available. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away. Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

To learn more about mental health or to make an appointment at Rodgers Health call 816-307-0152 or request an appointment online