April 18, 2012
I’m like most people, I realize how important it is to keep the body healthy but, few of us think about keeping our minds healthy. The goal should be to achieve an overall balance; we all need to strive for both physical and mental wellness or “wellbeing.” Did you know 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness sometime in their life? Let’s start with a common one, STRESS...Yes; stress is a form of Mental Illness! Depression is the most prevalent and is expected to become the second most disabling illness in our future.
So... how do you know if you’re not mentally well?
Watch for symptoms, and seek help. Symptoms may vary with each type of mental illness and each individual. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the following are some common symptoms to watch for:
- Depression lasting for longer than a few weeks;
- Confused thoughts, delusions, and/or hallucinations;
- Extreme fears or anxiety that seem "out of proportion" to circumstances or events;
- Lack of motivation for a prolonged period of time;
- Persistent feelings of helplessness or hopelessness;
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed;
- Extreme mood swings between depression and mania, sometimes with overly reckless behaviors;
- Difficulty concentrating and/or sudden irritability;
- Disruption to usual sleep patterns;
- Talk or thoughts of suicide.
The sooner someone seeks help, the better they will be prepared to manage a mental illness. I know some of these symptoms are uncomfortable or even frightening to talk about, but please remember, you’re not alone, and there is help. Contact your local Mental Health Association; they have trained professionals with expertise to help you get back on track!