“Many people do not seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don't recognize the symptoms #MIAW19 #7Days7Ways”
Mental Illness Awareness Week (#MIAW19) takes place from October 6–12, 2019. This year, October 10 is World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day.
As part of Mental Health America’s 2019 campaign, 7 Days, 7 Ways (#7Days7Ways), focused on sharing information about 7 major mental health conditions, we’ve collated some of the personal experiences shared by the UNCrushed community around:
Addiction/Substance Use Disorder
Mental Health Screening
Each condition coincides with a free screening tool Mental Health America offers here.
Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. A screening only takes a few minutes, and after you are finished you will be given information about the next steps you should take based on the results. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or a loved one about your mental health. Screening for mental health conditions should be just as normal as screening for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic health condition. Screening helps catch problems early - B4Stage4.
Most people experience feelings of anxiety. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America. 21% of American adults live with a diagnosable anxiety disorder. To be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, a person would worry much more than is normally expected and they spend much of their time bothered by their worry.
Learn more about Anxiety here.
More than 3.3 million American adults are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in a given year. An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives. People with bipolar disorder experience extended periods of extreme high energy and mood called mania and extended periods of extreme low energy and mood called depression. With bipolar disorder, periods of mania and depression can last weeks or even months.
Learn more about Bipolar Disorder here.
Psychosis is a general term to describe a set of symptoms of mental illnesses that result in strange or bizarre thinking, perceptions (sight, sound), behaviors, and emotions. Conditions that have psychosis as a main symptom are referred to as psychotic disorders; however, psychosis may also occur as a feature of other disorders like bipolar or major depression.
Learn more about psychosis here.
In the US, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. People struggling with an eating disorder often become obsessed with food, body image and/or weight. These disorders can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and the longer they go undiagnosed, the more difficult they are to treat. The earlier a person receives treatment, the greater the likelihood of full recovery. Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder) are bio-psycho-social diseases - not fads, phases or lifestyle choices.
Learn more about Eating Disorders here
Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages experience depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide. While the majority of individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, only about a third (35.3%) of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional. Too many people resist treatment because they believe depression isn't serious, that they can treat it themselves or that it is a personal weakness rather than a serious medical illness.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day.
Learn more about Depression here.
PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur as a response to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD is not limited to individuals who have witnessed combat. For many people, symptoms of PTSD begin almost right away after the trauma happens. Trauma doesn’t go away on its own. It can last a lifetime and it can be deadly.
Learn more about PTSD here.
Addiction/Substance Use Disorder
There are many reasons why people decide to drink and use drugs. But the increasing use of drugs and drinking can come with serious risks and devastating consequences. Substance abuse affects an estimated 25 million Americans. Alcoholism (heavy drinking) afflicts 16 million adults and almost 300,000 children annually.
Learn more about Addiction / Substance Use Disorder here.
How Can I Get Involved?
Mental Health America outlines different ways of getting involved with mental health awareness and advocacy:
Learn- Education is the first step to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. Get educated, share your stories, show compassion, and don’t judge.
Adapt- Change the way you think about mental health. Instead of thinking that mental health should be addressed after a crisis, think about ways to prevent a crisis - just like any chronic health condition.
Challenge- Challenge myths about mental health. Regularly screen for your mental health. Use person-centered language. See a therapist. Practice self-care. Take steps towards normalizing mental health care.
Educate- Take time to educate those around you about the importance of mental health. Share tools and resources on social media. Talk about mental health openly in casual settings with people you trust.
Engage- Reach out to mental health organizations in your community. Find out how you can support them and get involved.
Act- Advocate for policies in your state and community that promote prevention, education, early identification, and intervention for mental health.
Repeat- Mental health education and advocacy is a non-stop effort. There is always room to grow. The more we educate and normalize mental health care, the better.