Category: Behavioral Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone.

Each year, millions of people in the U.S. face the reality of living with a mental health condition.

Get the Facts

A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment, and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.

Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people don’t like to, or are scared to, talk about them.

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.

Symptoms may include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear.
  • Feeling excessively sad or low.
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning..
    Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria.
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger.
  • Avoiding friends and social activities.
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people.
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy.
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite.
  • Changes in sex drive.
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality).
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia).
  • Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs.
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
    Thinking about suicide.
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress.
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance.

Take Action

If you or someone you know needs help now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.

If you are thinking of harming yourself or others, or are having thoughts of suicide, don’t be afraid to speak openly and honestly if you need help. You are not alone and there is support available.

Mental illness is not your fault or that of the people around you.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step.

It’s crucial that you advocate for your own health so you can receive the best care possible.

Unlike diabetes or cancer, there is no medical test that can accurately diagnose mental illness. A mental health professional will assess symptoms and make a diagnosis.

After diagnosis, a health care provider can help develop a treatment plan that could include medication, therapy, or other lifestyle changes.

When people are directly involved in designing their own treatment plan, including defining recovery and wellness goals, choosing services that support them, and evaluating treatment decisions and progress, the experience of care and outcomes are improved.

Find a Doctor

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

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