May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Source: LDH Facebook page

The Louisiana Department of Health is recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. May 13 through 19 is also recognized nationwide as Mental Health Week.

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Includes emotional, psychological, & social well-being
  • Determines how we handle stress, related to others & make choices

According to Baton Rouge General (BRG), one in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. You can take BRG's online depression and anxiety assessment online to determine if you're a candidate for treatment.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health problems are common. However, most people with mental problems can get better. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.

MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM FACTORS

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

EARLY WARNING SIGNS (Source: MentalHealth.gov)

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
People can experience different types of mental health problems. These problems can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior.

Anxiety Disorders
People with anxiety disorders respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread. Anxiety disorders can include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and phobias.

Behavioral Disorders
Behavioral disorders involve a pattern of disruptive behaviors in children that last for at least 6 months and cause problems in school, at home and in social situations. Examples of behavioral disorders include Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD).

Eating Disorders
Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Eating disorders can include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Mental health problems and substance abuse disorders sometimes occur together.

Mood Disorders
Mood disorders involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or fluctuating between extreme happiness and extreme sadness. Mood disorders can include depression, bipolar disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and self-harm.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
If you have OCD, you have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. You do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away. Those repeated actions are called compulsions.

Personality Disorders
People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that are distressing to the person and may cause problems in work, school, or social relationships. Personality disorders can include antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Psychotic Disorders
People with psychotic disorders experience a range of symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions. An example of a psychotic disorder is schizophrenia.

Suicidal Behavior
Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide.

Trauma and Stress Related Disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, rape, physical abuse or a bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over.

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