Today is World Mental Health Day. A day and a cause more than worthy of having a day of recognition and daily support and funding. It's truly difficult to fully comprehend just how outrageous the numbers are in our World today, in regards to statistics of mental health.
Understanding mental health and who is affected by the diseases associated is crucial in understanding what we can do to help. We can help in many ways, but first we must grasp the truth of the matter. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental health condition? Just imagine your circle of friends. When you are sitting around the table at brunch, how many of your close friends are silently suffering? 1 in 5 is astounding. In every group of 5 people you are hanging out with, at least 1 is suffering from a mental health condition. Is it you? Are you trying to figure out who it is from your close circle? There are signs, they often go unnoticed, but there are signs. Here are some of the most noticeable signs according to the American Psychiatric Association,
Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings
Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
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 thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
“One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness but may indicate a need for further evaluation. If a person is experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a physician or mental health professional. People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention.”
There is not enough funding for mental health as it is in our country. If you are aware of the current administration’s budget proposal, those fundings are only going to plummet and suffer severe cuts. In fact, according to mentalhealthamerica.net, the proposal, “Reduces funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs of Regional and National Significance by ~$600 million, eliminates $451 million in other health professions and training programs and eliminates funding for Minority Fellowship programs at SAMHSA.”
Voting is important, understanding is important, and change is vital. People with mental illnesses need professionals to speak with, need treatments, and need medications. This is not currently attainable nor is it affordable. We have to stand up and use our voices, we have to be heard and we have to demand changes for those suffering. It is us who suffer, it is our families, our friends, our children. Teachers, coaches, school counselors. The people we choose to trust for our children could be on the verge of a mental break. Everyone deserves to have access to the help they need.
Mental health affects everyone in some way. Whether it is direct, or because someone close to us is suffering, we are all affected. Some people are more affected. For instance, young people ages 13-18, 1 in 5 are likely to have a mental illness 20% of those young people are living with mental illness, 11% have a mood disorder, 10% have a behavioral and/or conduct disorder and 8% are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Are you aware that suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents ages 10-24 and that 90% of those that die from suicide have an underlying or undetected mental illness? 50% of teens with mental illness end up dropping out of high school, on average it takes 8-10 years from the onset of mental illness to intervention and treatment taking place for these young people. 70% of these young people that land themselves in juvenile detentions, suffer from mental illness. All of these statistics were found in a graph on NAMI.org. Our young people deserve better. Our adults deserve better. We all deserve better and we all have voices we need to use, either to admit we fear we have a mental illness or disorder, to express our concerns to others that we fear they may have a mental illness or disorder and to our congressmen and women to make the right choices in budget cuts to help fund mental health.
Our LGBTQ community is outrageously affected by mental illness. According to psychologytoday.com published in the International Review of Psychiatry, found that "adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual suffer from depression at significantly higher rates than those who identify as heterosexual; the risks are even higher for homosexual and bisexual youth. The review included 199 studies investigating the mental health of sexual minorities compared to heterosexual people. 98% percent of the studies found lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and even those who are questioning their sexuality, are at an increased risk for attempting suicide. There is also evidence that sexual minorities suffer from anxiety disorders at higher rates and are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs compared to heterosexual people. Challenges such as the stigma associated with sexual minorities, discrimination, family disapproval, social rejection, and violence are among the factors that can lead to mental health problems, said Janis Whitlock, a research scientist in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and Director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery. “It is increasingly clear that sexual orientation and identity are important factors in understanding health and other wellbeing outcomes," she said. "Although the reasons for this are unclear, sensitivity to the relationship between these are critical for protecting vulnerable people and populations."
To learn more about the history of WMHDAY, I invite you to this website that explains in great detail the beginning October 10, 1992 to the present October 10, 2018 of WMHDAY.
Another great website for facts and statistics is http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america
Thank you for being a part of the OS community, Sinner. You are welcome here and you are recognized as beautiful and needed as you are. Please keep in touch and let me know if there's any way I may help guide you to embrace your sexual and mental health. We are in this Garden together.
Yours in Eden,