From school, to working, to a social life it seems that taking care of one’s mental health is never on the radar. Opening the conversation about mental health helps people learn how to better take care of themselves and how to prevent the numbers from rising.
Around 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illnesses a year. 1 in 5 youth (ages 13-18) experience severe mental disorders at some point during their lives. 1.1% of adults live with schizophrenia, 2.6% live with bipolar disorder, 6.9% experience at least one major depressive episode a year, and 18.1% of adults experience an anxiety disorder. With these ever-rising numbers, why is taking care of ourselves constantly on the back burner. From school, to working to a social life it seems that taking care of one’s mental health is never on the radar. Opening the conversation about mental health helps people learn how to better take care of themselves and how to prevent the numbers from rising.
Photo by: Brenna Byington
1. So what do you need to know?
Mental disorders aren’t just as simple as ‘being sad sometimes’ or ‘getting nervous before a play.’ Mental disorders are also not always just the type that people typically talk about. Openly talking about depression, anxiety and eating disorders (which can be considered a mental illness but is more of a mental disorder) is great, however there are thousands of people who live each day with hidden disorders. These personality disorders are categorized into three groups based on the main attributes. Cluster A: ‘odd, eccentric’ (schizoid personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder), Cluster B: ‘emotional, dramatic, and erratic’ (histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder) and Cluster C: ‘anxious and fearful’ (personality dependent disorder, compulsive personality disorder). These disorders typically go untreated, even though they do make up a good majority of the mental health community. People with personality disorders make up 9.1% of adults in the US, leading with avoidant personality disorder (5.2%), antisocial personality disorder (1%), and borderline personality disorder (between 1.6-2.7%). These numbers also only symbolize the tested and treated cases, as there are many adults who never pursue testing or treatment for their symptoms. With thousands of tests to take online about the subject, many (MANY) people will still refuse to seek professional treatment. For instance (in a non-equivalent) I get really upset stomachs when I eat too much dairy, so I tell people I’m lactose-intolerant to avoid it at all cost. Have I been tested for it? – No. Have I now just grown a taste for non-dairy things? – Yes.
2. What is the treatment? That is a great follow-up question reader, there are many treatments for all types of mental disorders, spanning from pills to treatment centers. The only step required is the reach out and actively seek the help that you need, which is a major step to take. Not everyone can decide that they need help for themselves, and if the situation is dire, patience and support is what’s truly needed. If they are willing to reach out for help, however, there are some very simple programs they can join. Medication is a major go to for many disorders, and sometimes it is the best fit. While medication won’t ‘cure’ mental illness (there is no cure), managing the symptoms are easier for those once they found the correct medication. The process may take a while, but it is worth it to find out what works for you. Peer Support and Support Groups may also help them feel like they are a part of a ‘team’ and more willing to work towards a recovery goal, and if a group setting isn’t helpful a one-on-one therapy session may be. In Nacogdoches there are eleven mental health care professionals who are willing to lend a hand to those who need it. At SFASU counseling is offered on the 3rd floor of the Rusk Building, with office hours running Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. You can make an appointment over the phone (call (936) 468-2401) or you can book an appointment in person. Make sure to arrive 15 minutes in advice for the initial consultation, to complete all the necessary paperwork.
Getting help is scary but dealing with these conditions alone is more terrifying than all of it. Reaching out to a loved one or someone that you think may be struggling could be the bridge that they need to reach a path to recovery. If you cannot make it to a hospital or to help, there are thousands of anonymous telephone lines that you can call for support and to answer any questions that you have.
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 800-273-8255
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: 800-826-3632
Mental Health America: 800-969-NMHA
(All statistics were found on http://www.pdan.org/what-are-personality-disorders/statistics-3/ and the article research was started on https://medlineplus.gov/mentaldisorders.html#cat_69 . If you or a loved one is diagnosed with any mental health disorder – do your research.)