OUR VIEW: Mental health awareness a focus for October

Published 9:30 am Friday, October 8, 2021

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Mental Health impacts millions of Americans each year, directly and indirectly through family, friends, and co-workers.

Sunday, Oct. 3, marked the beginning of mental health awareness week and will conclude on Oct. 18 with World Mental Health Day.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), this year’s campaign will focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness (SMI).

Mental health conditions are necessary to discuss year-round, but highlighting them on a dedicated time allows advocates from all over to come together as one voice.

One in five adults experiences mental illness and one in 20 experiences serious mental illness. In children, 17% of children ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder.

In adults, anxiety is the most common mental illness, with 19% of adults suffering from some form of anxiety.

There is a good chance that someone you are friends with or work with or even live with is fighting some sort of mental illness.

  • You never know what someone is dealing with and we all must take time to understand mental health.
  • Knowing the signs is the first step. Some of the common signs to look for:
  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks 
  • Trying to harm or end one’s life or making plans to do so
  • Severe, out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that causes harm to self or others
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or difficulty breathing
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Seeing, hearing or believing things that aren’t real
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still
  • IIntense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities

Treatments vary by diagnosis, making it essential for those experiencing signs to get help. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). Or text “NAMI” to 741741.