Mental Health Awareness Week, Oct. 5-11

2014-10-08

Approximately one out of four adults experiences mental health problems each year, but over half of those never receive treatment. The impact of untreated mental illness stretches far and wide, affecting everything from lifespan and quality of life to employee productivity and economic security. Mental Health Awareness Week, Oct. 5-11, is a time to recognize those who suffer from mental illness, and to increase public awareness and education about this critical issue.

It's normal to feel depression and anxiety as a result of difficult or stressful life events; but when these become persistent and begin to inhibit your ability to function in everyday life, it may be time to seek help.

If you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness:

  • Talk to your doctor: Your primary physician may not be the best person to treat your mental illness in the long-term, but he or she can guide you towards those who can, and make referrals if necessary. Be honest with your doctor about your symptoms, as well your use of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Pick up the phone: Find out if your city has a local crisis line, or take advantage of a national one such as the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Find support: Consider attending a peer support or therapy group to get encouragement, feedback, and practical advice from people who understand or have been there.

If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with mental illness:

  • Reach out: Even though it may be uncomfortable, don't be afraid to talk to a friend or family member who is struggling. Be honest about your concerns and ask direct questions if you feel the person may be a danger to himself/herself or others. Remember, your willingness to approach a difficult conversation could actually save a life.
  • Find resources: If your friend is willing, help him or her to access resources to get help. These may include therapy or psychiatry, a treatment center or peer-support group. Sometimes just making a phone call is overwhelming for somebody who is suffering from mental illness, so offering to help set up an appointment may help this person take the next step.
  • Make yourself available: Let your friend know that they can always call you if they need somebody to talk to or help accessing resources. Remember, you cannot force somebody to get help, but you can keep the lines of communication open. If you feel your friend may be a danger to himself or others and he or she is not willing to get help, call your local police department and request a welfare check.
  • Help yourself first: Whether your friend accepts help or not, taking care of your own needs will ensure that you have something to offer when the time is right. If a loved one's suffering is causing you a significant amount of distress, consider attending therapy or a group for friends and family members yourself.

For more tips on helping or finding help, visit mentalhealth.gov

For more information on mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Does your health insurance cover mental health support? Call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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