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What is Mental Health Week

Over time, mental health awareness has become more popular both around the world and in the United States. In the past, unfortunately, mental health problems were undiagnosed and ignored all-together. Luckily, both the average person and mental health doctors have realized the importance of mental health well-being. In 1990, the United States congress, in order to educate the public on mental health issues, came up with mental health week.

The purpose of mental health week is for professionals in the mental health field to educate the public on the importance of mental health care. Mental health professionals from all over the country use this week as a way to promote and highlight the benefits of using a mental health professional. Mental health week has become popular as it is an excellent outlet to educate the public on all of the issues.

This holiday coincides with other holidays related to mental health awareness. For example, in October, mental health professionals also host events for depression screening. While mental health suffered a stigma in the past, events like these and others have brought mental health problems to the forefront. As people understand more about mental health problems, mental health week will become more popular.

Hope Is There

Mental illness does not discriminate against anyone. It does not matter your race, sex, religion, gender, age or economical status. Mental illness can and may affect you at some point in your life. If you were to look back on the history and treatment of the mentally ill, you would see that not always was the disease taken seriously. There have been many misconceptions and myths on why a person was deemed insane or a lunatic as they were refered to. One myth was that a baby was born during the full moon and thus they became a lunatic. The word lunatic is in relationship with the moon, thus being born under the full moon. Also, the treatments of mental illness included submerging the patient into ice water and also bleeding the patient in which the patient’s body is bled from unclean mental illness. These were treatmetns that began the advocation movement for protection and humane treatment of the mentally ill person. Now almost a century later, there are many supports for the mentally ill.

One of the largest support organization for the mentally ill is The National Alliance of Mental Illness also known as NAMI. NAMI was organzied in 1979, as a grassroots organization to help bring support and aid to mentally ill people. NAMI has support centers all across the country that help people suffering from mental illness. One program they offer is NAMI on Campus. This organization is tailored towards the college students on campuses throughtout the country, and also the program is lead by college students that advocate help and support for students that may be suffering from mental illness. Another well known support system that NAMI offers is their informaton helpline. The information helpline has trained professionals that are available to answer questions and give referals to anyone that may have a question concerning mental illness. NAMI also offers an annual, national convention that brings together professionals, volunteers, and people suffering from mental illness. NAMI is the largest support organization for people suffering from mental illness, but NAMI is not the only one.

Another organization, psyweb, gives support to the mentally ill free of charge. Psyweb offers free testing, free medication information, free mental health disorder information and free membership. Also at psyweb there is a toll-free support line in which you can speak to a trained specialist concerning mental illness.

Each state also offers mental health facilities in which clients can gain access and information on how to cope with and treat their mental illnesses. In all, the best support for the mentally ill is through family, friends and therpay. There is hope and help available for the mentally ill.

Mental Health Resources

When mental health interferes with a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, he or she can seek help from a mental health professional. Many mental health resources are available for anyone seeking to overcome challenges such as depression. Finding help to improve mental health issues is similar to obtaining help for health problems such as chronic pain or kidney troubles.

Finding help is closer than the local telephone book or Internet directory. Many individuals first seek the guidance of a trusted professional such as their general physician or religious counselor. These professionals often have a list of mental health resources which cater to a person’s specific needs. For instance, a person trying to break out of a sad mood may need a different resource list than a person with depression. Thus, when requesting help, tell the exact issue causing the mental health problem. 

Anyone who does not have a health professional can often seek out a university psychiatry or psychology department. Often, these departments have trained staff available to answer questions and provide additional resources. In many cases, the departments have available open appointments for the general public and the university’s students. The help may be free or require a payment. If the university requires payment, it’s typically based on income. Mental health associations are also a great resource for treatment. 

Types of Mental Health Resources

Before starting any mental health treatment, it’s important to decide the type of format to best help someone improve his or her mental health. For example, some people may prefer talk therapy with a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor. This type of therapy is often referred to as talk therapy and consists of one-on-one sessions with a mental health professional. 

Individuals can choose another treatment option such as peer support groups. The support groups vary according to format. Some support groups only allow individuals experiencing mental health issues, because it allows them to feel safe enough to share their worries, problems or seek advice. Depending on the type of support group, some organizations are led by a group member and others are led by a mental health professional. 

Friends and family also offer support to people trying to overcome mental health problems. 

Mental Health Resources 

A stress-free and emotionally balanced life isn’t always possible. Emotional and psychological issues may surface at any time. Maybe it’s a relationship, daily problems or life getting in the way of maintaining a balanced, mentally healthy life. Regardless of the source of the problem, many mental health resources are available. Whether it’s a support group or therapist at a university, someone is always accessible to help ease the stress or troubles.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness

Throughout the country and world there are individuals who are diagnosed with different mental illnesses on a daily basis. These illnesses do not discriminate against a certain age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. The mental illness plays a huge role in causing the individual to lose the capability of being able to use his or her mind properly. The individuals cannot function at a what-is-considered a “normal” way. Their process of thinking, their mood and daily activities are affected.

Mental illnesses are found in different degrees of severity. Some individuals may have a mental illness but can still go on with their lives. There are others though who cannot function independently due to the illness. 

Even though mental illness seems as if it is a major burden on the livelihood of a person, these individuals continue to have a positive outlook on life. The reason there continues to be hope for the individuals who are suffering and their families is because though not always curable, mental illnesses can be treated to help relieve the symptoms that are being experienced.

The types of treatments available are either through medication or through therapy. The therapy can be cognitive therapy, group therapy, faith-based therapy or any other type of therapy the doctor feels will help the individual. Though two may have the same mental illness, the treatment route that is taken will vary depending on the person’s personality.

On top of all the medical efforts put into place, there is also a program that is founded upon caring for, supporting, and any other action that will benefit those who are suffering with mental illnesses. The National Alliance of Mental Illness is a non-profit organization that works to enrich the lives of those diagnosed with a mental illness. It helps to bring in funds for research, education and an assortment of activities.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, was originally founded in 1979. The thought behind the founding of this organization is that in every community, you will find someone who is suffering with mental illness. These individuals and their families had no one to go to for support. For an illness that is so wide-spread, it would seem appropriate to have an organization that is there to help. That was the reasoning behind the origin of NAMI, which eventually spread throughout the whole country. 

Being a non-profit organization, NAMI is solely funded by private donations. Controversy stems from the fact that pharmaceutical companies make up a majority of the organization’s donations. Reports accuse the organization for promoting the medications the pharmaceutical companies produce in return for the donations.

Without NAMI many individuals feel as if they would have no hope. NAMI helps bring communities together to support a good cause. With so many individuals suffering from mental illness, the support NAMI provides keeps the hope alive for a better life for them.

Types of Mental Illness

 There are four common mental illnesses that are most frequently diagnosed and treated worldwide.

Depression – It is estimated that above 17% of the population will experience an episode of depression at some point in their lives, and as many as 35 million people experience depression which is severe enough to require treatment, or have it recommended. Depression is a severe emotional or physical state of unhappiness, most commonly associated with a loss of interest in activities and a lack of energy combined with an inability to concentrate. It can be treated through therapy, pharmaceutical and holistic means and does not have to be a life-long condition.

Anxiety Disorders – These are also very common, especially in the high-intensity and high-stress, faced paced life of modern society. While the term “anxiety disorder” is most commonly known, it covers several forms of different mental illness that all relate to abnormal fear or anxiety and stress. Anxiety disorders can cause panic attacks, and are most typically associated with difficulty breathing, obsessive worry or fear and irrational phobias. Anxiety disorders can also be treated either medically or through medication or other forms of holistic medicine, and can be maintained once diagnosed without lingering effects. 

Bipolar Disorder – This disorder is becoming a more commonly known mental illness and is being treated far more frequently than it was previously. Bi-polar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from happy to depressed with no known cause for the switch. So named by its symptoms, sufferers of bipolar disorder often cannot control or regulate their moods without medication, and often go from one extreme to another completely unprovoked. There may be a period of “normal” in between mania and depressive states, but in episodes called “rapid cycling” these normal periods no longer exist. Formerly known as “manic depression”, people in a manic state, for which this disorder is most well-known, can feel a sense of elation or euphoria which is exhibited by increased energy and excitement, while the depressed pole of this disorder can sometimes barely function. Bipolar disorder is typically treated with medication which includes both a mood stabilizer, to balance the roller coaster of emotion, and an added anti-depressant for the lower end of the polar swing.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – This disorder is known as a spin-off from a more general diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, but it’s becoming more prevalent and more frequently diagnosed in the present age. Sufferers of OCD are plagued by repeated or unwelcome thoughts or ideas and those continual thoughts drive them to repeat a compulsive behavior, such as turning a light switch on and off for a certain number of times, or compulsively washing their hands. These repeated compulsive behaviors become second nature to people suffering from OCD, and they are often not conscious of performing them. If prevented from performing a compulsive action, the cycle of anxiety can spin out of control and trigger a panic attack until it is corrected. OCD is most often treated by medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy to understand the cause of the anxiety, and treat it so the compulsive behaviors are no longer necessary.

Mental illness comes in many forms, although many types seem to be inter-connected. With more and more research on the subject being constantly evaluated and tested, finding better and more effective treatments for mental disorders is always in process. For the millions world-wide who suffer from these disorders or many others, a normal life can be achieved through therapy or medication or both, as well as meditation or faith-based practices to calm the mind and reunite it with the body. As with anything that effects our minds and bodies, it’s good to get an examination by your general physician to rule out physical factors.

What Is Mental Health?

What is mental health? Simply put it is the balance within the human mind and psyche that dictates one’s emotional and intellectual welfare. It governs how human beings will act and react in any given situation. Mental status, whether healthy or unhealthy, is the foundation for how each person will interact with the people and react to events that shape their lives. Ironically, mental health is not generally discussed or even thought about until someone’s mental health is brought into question due to bizarre or dangerous behaviors. However, no matter where a person falls on the mental health spectrum, one thing is true. Sound mental health is always the desired condition.

Adverse mental health can be brought to bear due to emotional trauma, brain chemical imbalances, injury, genetics, substance abuse, infection and physical illness. It’s often said that everyone is suffering from some degree of mental dysfunction. That may be true, but most can manage to keep the pandemonium of life contained to a “normal” level. However, when it becomes unmanageable and spills out effecting the general population as well, it is then time to address the issue and seriously consider seeking professional help. Often when individuals are suffering from milder levels of mental illness, it goes unaddressed. They seem to feel that they can handle it, or worse yet that there is no problem at all. That mindset is a clear indicator and a persuasive reason that treatment is indicated.

Since mental health governs how individuals live their lives, what are the best ways to safeguard one’s mental health? Although quite elementary, the answers to that question are numerous. Many in society are ill equipped to address the issues that affect mental health. Outlined are steps that will aid in preserving good mental health.

  • Be Proactive
    When traumatic events occur, seek counseling to help overcome shock, guilt or the horrors of any situation. Do not wait until the problem has escalated to seek help.
  • Seek Advice
    Do not be afraid to utilize the services of a doctor first to rule out any physiological factors. Depending on the type of problem, medications may be required to help bring the mental state back within a normal range if there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Avoiding help perpetuates the problem. Speaking to a counselor may help as well.
  • Submit
    Once a professional has made a diagnosis, trust that he/she is committed to helping solve the problem. Follow their directives, and be prepared to do the work.
  • Be Optimistic
    Mental illness can be treated. Resolve and commit to treatment with a positive attitude.

Mental health, whether satisfactory or adverse, is the determining factor that will regulate how an individual lives. It will dictate every aspect of a person’s life. It will either be the portal to a productive and satisfying existence or the gateway to one that is tortured and septic.

Realize that unfavorable mental health is just another health condition, like high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer. Therefore it should be treated as one would treat any health issue.