hope for mental illness
One in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental health issue each year. Mental illness and substance use disorders are among the top conditions that cause disability in the United States, and yet there appears to be no sure way to prevent mental illnesses. That being said, more is learned all the time about the risk factors that impact behavioral health.
Critical to prevention or mitigation is acting early. Although studies show that half of the people who will develop mental health issues show symptoms around age 14, more recent studies are pointing to the influence of genetics, prenatal care, and factors through birth and early childhood on mental health.
Understand the underlying stressors
Here are important factors we have learned can be harmful to mental health throughout the early lifespan. Identifying and understanding these factors highlights what we can do to promote early intervention and the prevention of mental illness.
Traumatic brain injuries and chronic illnesses are health issues that impact our body and brain’s ability to do the normally-functioning things. Health-related issues that influence mental health also include toxic exposure, nutrition, and sleep.
· Safety or Security
Trauma like abuse, neglect, experiencing sexual or physical violence or exposure to violence interferes with our ability to pay attention to what we need to be mentally healthy.
Is there access to resources like adequate housing, nutritious food, finances and education, as well as mental health services, like school-based support and mental health treatment?
Do healthy and appropriate relationships with others exist, including caregivers, family, friends or classmates? This also includes the extent to which an individual feels like a valued member of his or her community.
Knowledge is power and understanding the risk factors helps to mitigate or even prevent mental illness, allowing individuals to live healthy, fulfilling lives in their communities. Ignoring the signs or not providing early intervention programs can lead to critical issues such as school drop-out, homelessness, suicide, and crime.
Prevention is possible
Prevention approaches focus on helping people work on the health, security, resources and relationship factors they need to change harmful behaviors. Programs that create safe and supportive schools and communities prevent violence, make schools safer and increase mental health services are being implemented in communities across the country.
These programs also train teachers and other adults who interact with youth on how to detect mental illness and find appropriate treatment programs.
You can help yourself
If you feel you might have a mental illness, mental health professionals suggest the following to increase your resilience, boost low self-esteem and help keep your symptoms under control:
1. Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your symptoms.
2. Get routine medical care. Don't neglect checkups or skip visits to your health care provider, especially if you aren't feeling well.
3. Get help when you need it. Mental health conditions can be harder to treat if you wait until symptoms get worse.
4. Take good care of yourself. Sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and regular physical activity are important. Try to maintain a regular schedule.
Above all - reach out. Help and hope are right here. Contact us today and we’ll connect you with the information or help you need!