Mental Health Awareness Month 2022
There are millions of Americans who live with mental illness. The COVID-19 pandemic especially shined a light on mental health, and brought a new understanding about it. At Aubrey Law, mental health is a priority for our clients and associates. This cause is particularly near and dear to Aubrey Harry Ducker Jr, who has a son on the spectrum. May is officially Mental Health Awareness Month. Join Aubrey Law in observing Mental Health Awareness Month 2022.
What Is Mental Illness?
Mental Illness is a broad category of brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviors. At some point in their lives, most people will get a mental health problem. This is also incredibly common and no one is alone in this.
Individuals with mental health disorders have brains that have been altered. This has affected their ability to think, feel, or act in ways that are healthy and productive. Sometimes, this means that they will experience extreme and unexpected changes in mood. It could be feeling sadder or more worried than normal. For others, it could be not being able to think clearly, not being able to communicate properly, or even having irrational thoughts.
Facts About Mental Illness
Stay informed about mental health in the US. Additionally, these are some facts for Mental Health Awareness Month 2022:
- 8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year
- Half of all chromic mental illness begins by the age of 14, and three-quarters by the age of 24
- 1% (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorders
- 9% (16 million) of American adults live with major depression
- Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders
Download the Fact Sheet From NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Types of Mental Health Issues
According to the DSM-5, there are over 200 classified forms of mental illnesses. Some of the more common disorders include: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia. The categories for disorders include:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Mood Disorders (Depression, Bipolar Disorder)
- Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-and-Purge)
- Trauma-related Disorders (PTSD, Acute Stress Disorder)
- Psychotic Disorders (Schizophrenia)
Mental health disorders can have many causes: excessive stress, responses to traumatic events, genetics or even biochemical imbalances. Sometimes, mental illnesses arise from physical issues like cancer or heart disease.
Recognizing When You Need To Focus On Mental Health
Sometimes, we get “tunnel vision” when it comes to mental health and don’t see the signs until they become dire. Much like physical health, we all have days when we feel sore, extra fatigued, or have a migraine. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a chronic illness or disease. However, things may change for the worse or it becomes difficult to function properly.
Mental health is the same way. You should expect the occasional bad day. But if you notice that things that used to become easy suddenly become very difficult, it might point to something else going on. This is when you should really take a look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Mental Health Warning Signs and Symptoms
There are several warning signs that an individuals’ mental health is cause for concern. Some of these signs and symptoms belong to several different types of mental illness. For a full list of mental disorders, visit www.nami.org. These are just a few warning signs to look out for:
In Adults, Young Adults and Adolescents:
- Confused thinking
- Prolonged sadness or irritability
- Extreme emotional highs and lows
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Withdrawing socially
- Intense feelings of anger
- Excessive fears, worries or anxieties
In Older Children and Pre-Adolescents:
- Substance abuse
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Struggles in managing responsibility – at home or school
- Frequent outbursts of anger
- Defiance of authority, breaking laws (theft, truancy, vandalism)
- Prolonged sadness
- Thoughts of death
In Younger Children:
- Changes in school performance
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Refusing to go to bed or school
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Persistent disobedience or aggression
Managing Life with Mental Illness
Many individuals who have mental illness are able to cope day-to-day with mental illness. Even though mental health disorders are overwhelming, there are ways that you can manage the stresses that come with it.
Accept Your Feelings
With mental illness, individuals can experience some of the warning signs listed above. Sometimes, it can be uncomfortable to confront these feelings, thoughts and actions and be in denial about it. Often, people are worried about the stigma or what people might think. Accept that these feelings and thoughts and acknowledge that they are only temporary and don’t define you.
Handling Unusual Behavior
Usually, the outward signs of mental illness are behavioral. The individual might be quiet or withdrawn. Or they might have outbursts of anger and aggression. If you find that you are displaying concerning behavior, develop a strategy with a mental health professional and your family.
Establishing a Support Network
Seek support when possible. Additionally, it’s essential for individuals with mental health issues to seek support from friends and family members. If you find that you cannot discuss your situation with family and friends, seek a self-help or support group.
Do You Need Mental Health Support?
If you or a loved one is in need of suicide or mental-health related crisis support, please call or text 1-800-273-8255 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor. You may also call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, or use the SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to get help.
About Aubrey H Ducker Jr.
Aubrey H Ducker Jr. is a member in the Orlando office of CPLS, P.A., in the firm’s Family and Elder Law Practice Groups. His family law practice includes traditional family law representation in the areas of divorce and all issues incidental there too such as: parenting issues, alimony, child support, property distribution, and related issues; his practice also introduces new strategies, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and private trials, to assure his clients concerns are protected and secured. Attorney Aubrey Harry Ducker Jr. has served as a Guardian Ad Litem in more than 130 cases in both terminations of parental rights cases and as a Private Guardian Ad Litem in divorce proceedings.