Millions of people are affected by mental illness each year. Across the country, many people just like you work, perform, create, compete, laugh, love and inspire every day – the only difference is they are struggling on the inside.
Now more than ever, it’s important that we bring awareness to mental health issues, and acknowledge that it doesn’t always look the same for each person. By gaining some understanding of mental illness, we can learn how to recognize it in others and offer the help and support they may need.
Common Warning Signs of Mental Illness
Diagnosing mental illness isn’t a straightforward science. We can’t test for it the same way we can test blood sugar levels for diabetes. Each condition has its own set of unique symptoms, though symptoms often overlap. Common signs and/or symptoms can include:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Trying to harm or end one’s life or making plans to do so
- Severe, out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that causes harm to self or others
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or difficulty breathing
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Seeing, hearing or believing things that aren’t real
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
What Are Common Mental Health Conditions?
A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others.
- Anxiety Disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective Disorder
Click here for detailed information about each mental health condition.
How Mental Illness Affects the World Around Us
Having a mental illness can make it challenging to live everyday life and maintain recovery. Let’s look at some of the ways a mental health condition can impact lives — and how the impact can ripple out.
People with a serious mental illness have an increased risk for chronic disease, like diabetes or cancer, and rates of cardiometabolic disease are twice as high in adults with serious mental illness. This means the burden to care for a person with a serious mental illness who can't care for themselves falls on other family members. In fact, caregivers spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care; and at least 8.4 million Americans provide care to an adult with an emotional or mental illness.
This causes a ripple affect in the community and the world:
- 21% of people experiencing homelessness also have a serious mental illness
- 37% of people incarcerated in state and federal prison have a diagnosed mental condition
- 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition
- 1 in 8 of all visits to U.S. emergency departments are related to mental and substance use disorders
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, costing the global economy $1 trillion each year to loss productivity.
How Can You Help Yourself or Someone Experiencing a Mental Health Condition?
Mental health treatments — therapy, medication, self-care — have made recovery a reality for most people experiencing mental illness. Although taking the first steps can be confusing or difficult, itʼs important to start exploring options.
Tell someone how you’re feeling – this could be a family member, close friend, faith leader, teacher or professor, counselor or coach. Make sure it’s someone you can trust.
Find the right specialist and make an appointment – start with your primary care doctor and be honest about the way you’re feeling, then ask for recommendations for a therapist or mental health specialist.
Be prepared to talk – you will probably be asked about your health history, to describe the symptoms you’re having and how you’re feeling. Ask the mental health specialist about all treatment options so you can find what will work best for you.
Find a routine that works for you – be consistent in eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting regular sleep, and doing things you love, like reading, sports, writing, walks, art, etc.
Remember, you are not alone! It’s essential to prioritize our mental health and stay connected with friends, family, peers and colleagues. No one should feel alone in their mental health journey or without the resources and support they need.
At Orchard Hospital, we want to help and educate people about mental illness and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way. Orchard Hospital Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic - offers mental health services for outpatients with the need or desire to receive mental health treatment.
Our focus is on the total well-being of those whose mental illness or behavioral problems limit their ability to live their lives to their fullest potential. We also offer the same services to those who are interested in learning new coping skills and ways of dealing with everyday stressful situations.
We strive to build trusting, respectful and attentive relationships that define practical goals and plans.
To schedule an appointment, call (530) 846-9080 or click below.