Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Mental Health Day 2013

World Mental Healthy Day is October 10.  The goal of this designated day is to raise awareness of mental health, also known as behavioral health. While the specific focus for 2013 is older adults, mental illness can affect anyone, at any age.

World Mental Health Day
Source: http://noelbell.net

What is mental health?


Also known as behavioral health, mental health is a complex component of health that encompasses your mood, thinking and behavior.  Mental health has an impact on your day-to-day functioning, as well as work, activities and relationships.

Mental illness statistics:


According to the National Institute of Mental Health,

  • Mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease
  • 25% of American adults (18+) and 13% of American children (8-15) are diagnosed with mental illness during a given year
  • Major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are among the U.S.’s top 10 leading causes of disability
  • 8 out of 10 individuals suffering from mental illness return to normal activities after receiving proper treatment

Types of mental illness:


  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Addictive behaviors

Experts agree that even more important than knowing the different types of mental illnesses is recognizing warning signs, which are crucial to early diagnosis and proper treatment.

Warning signs of mental illness or episode:


  • Social withdrawal or loss of interest in others
  • Noticeable decline in performance at work or school
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Changes in sleep patterns or personal hygiene
  • Heightened sensitivity to the senses--sight, sound, smell or touch
  • Unusual sense of power or abilities
  • Mood swings
  • Suspicious feelings

According to the professionals at www.psychiatry.org/mental-health, a combination of these symptoms and their negative impact on daily activity might indicate an underlying mental illness.


Is a nervous breakdown a sign of mental illness?


An episode usually caused by extreme stress, a nervous breakdown creates a psychiatric response in an individual. It may indicate underlying mental illness.

What should you do if someone threatens suicide?


  • Take the threat seriously
  • Get help
  • Act quickly
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Visit www.helpguide.org for suicide prevention information.

Can mental illness be prevented?


Because behavioral health is contributed to a variety of factors, including social, demographic, psychological and biological, experts believe it can’t be prevented. However, awareness and early detection can be key in preventing major episodes and hospitalization.

What factors may be helpful in maintaining good mental health?


  • Stress management
  • An overall healthy lifestyle, including exercise and a healthy diet
  • Socialization
  • Engaging in hobbies, sports or activities you enjoy
  • Maintaining medication schedule, if applicable

According to a study in Britain, findings support the idea that those eating a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables are less likely to suffer from depression, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Why don’t individuals suffering from mental illness get help?


  • May not be aware help is needed
  • Might be concerned about stigma attached to mental illness
  • Concern about taking medications
  • View their condition as a sign of weakness

Behavioral health is a vital aspect of enjoying overall good health. World Mental Health Day provides the perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of mental health with your family.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

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