Mental illness is common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or a disorder during their lifetime. One out of five Americans, unfortunately, will experience mental illness in any given year. Children will also experience mental illness; one out of five either currently are or at some point in their life will suffer with a severe mental illness issue. Also one out of 25 Americans suffers and lives with serious mental illness.
Today, Sunday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and we want to bring more awareness to topics which are, sadly, still misunderstood. Many things can cause mental illness, such as early childhood abuse, trauma, abuse, sexual assault, and witnessing violence. It can also be caused by ongoing medical issues such as cancer or diabetes. There are also biological issues that cause mental illness such as genes and chemical imbalance in the brain. Mental illness affects people in the way they cope with it or the environment that surrounds them, such as with alcohol or drug use, having a few friends, a feeling of loneliness, and a sense of isolation.
There are over 200 types of mental illnesses. Ones that you might recognize are anxiety disorders; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; disruptive behavioral disorders; depression; eating disorders; personality disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; schizophrenia spectrum; and substance use disorders. Chances are good that you know someone who suffers in one (or more) of these areas. That’s why it’s so important to elevate others’ understanding.
A number of ways are available to help one cope or treat mental illness. For children who suffer from mental illness, seek out their health care provider or a mental behavior specialist. For adults with mental illness, professionals such as licensed counselors can provide help, as well as one’s medical doctor. Other ways to cope and manage symptoms include therapy, a healthy diet, medication, behavioral therapy, physical activity, and a good night’s rest.
I personally had been suffering anxiety ever since I was a young child. I slowly had to learn ways to cope with my mental illness. It was not until the year 2020 during the pandemic, I resorted to seeking professional help. I learned more ways to cope and prevent the familiar feelings of anxiety. I’ve discovered there are many distractions and ways to cope with my mental illness.
I meditate daily to calm myself. I take my medication daily, and I exercise by doing Zumba (read more about it in my blog, Benefits of Zumba Beyond Fitness – Improve Your Well-being, Pain Tolerance and Sleep). I get both a mental and a physical workout with Zumba which helps my mind focus and remain at ease. Personally, I’ve found that reaching out to someone and just talking can make coping with mental illness a lot easier.
If someone in your life is dealing with any of the conditions mentioned here, please be an advocate for their mental health and stand with them. Your acceptance and understanding can make all the difference.
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