Mental Health Matters

Mental health is a personal struggle. One may not see obvious symptoms. Symptoms that can manifest in outward expressions, such as poor behavior to mirco-mannerisms, including affecting work place and home environments. Mental health is a constant balance that some may have been genetically predisposed, learned from a negative living environment and/or poor nutritional habits can all play a role in the severity.

Mental illness can be isolating. Many do not want to ask for help. Many do not share personal ideas or struggles due to not wanting to attach a stigma or have others view them as not able to fix their problems. There is no “quick fix” to recovery of mental illness. It is not only an individual’s struggle but it is also a public health concern. Mental health disorders need to be viewed as a chronic medical condition. Both are treatable with proper care with better results with early detection. Mental health should not be stigmatized and those should show encouragement to those that seek treatment and ask for help. 

Why isn’t mental health taken as seriously? 

Mental illness is weaved through one’s daily life just as a chronic physical illness. It can affect parenting, work, pregnancy, childbearing, finances, care giving, common daily activities and exacerbate co-occurring physical or mental health symptoms. 

An estimated 46.4% of Americans will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.1 The current U.S. population is approximately 305 million, meaning almost half of the population or an estimated 141 million will need mental health care at some point in their life. This does not include family members that are secondarily affected learning to communicate with those with mental illness.

Preventative care needs to be addressed. The U.S. spends billions of dollars in direct and indirect healthcare costs: decreased productivity, absenteeism, lost jobs and wages, untold pain and suffering, unraveling of families and friendships, and suicide.2 Various forms of depression are estimated to cost more than $83 billion a year.3 Anxiety disorders, which affect roughly 40 million American adults,4 cost more than $63 billion a year.5

Mental Health Matters

Where to Start?

Annual communication with one’s primary care physician on mental health concerns can aid in the prevention of unnecessary costs long term compared to left untreated. Especially if a crisis or major life event occurs in one’s life there are many support groups available to those who need another to talk to about their experience. If mental illness begins affecting an individual to the point that it disrupts daily life, then one should seek help from a trained professional who specializes in mental health illness. These professionals are trained to the nuances of mental health disorders and underlying symptoms that could be presenting themselves unknowingly to the person. Psychotherapy, testing, medication or other alternative modalities (such as, neurofeedback) are all available treatment options.

Be aware of those that are not trained in treating mental health concerns, conditions, or disorders. Watch out for those that sell mental health supplements and other options that may appear holistic. These type of supplements may cause more side effects or worsen current symptoms. The best course of action is to discuss options with your primary health care provider and discuss treatment options with an experienced mental health professional who has many years in the field with treating specific mental health concerns.

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