I can’t let the month end without talking about Mental Health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a bit astounding to me that we are still trying to create awareness around this subject when I feel like mental health issues are EVERYWHERE. But the fact is, a few short years ago, talking about mental health was not a thing. When Luke was in the throws of his most challenging years, we thought it was just that – him being a difficult teenager. No one said to us – “Hey. maybe the fact that your child is sleeping all the time and struggling is because he is depressed.” Or ” Hey, maybe all these physical symptoms – the stomach aches and weird bumps and swelling of random body parts are because he has anxiety.” My hope is that if you follow my blog you have taken away this one thing…. that if your child’s behavior seems out of the ordinary, you need to get professional help. Please don’t try and manage this on your own. Everyone needs a little help at some point in their lives. Here’s the stat from the National Council of Mental Wellbeing:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
That’s 20% folks. And if that isn’t astounding enough… the stats for our young people are even more alarming.
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
The mind is just like every other part of our body…. we need to take steps to keep it healthy and we need to get help when we have a problem. Earlier today talking about the term mental illness, John emphasized how important it is to have the word *illness* in there. “People need to know this is not just a mood, that this is not something an individual chooses.” And as with any illness, we need medical help to get through. I feel like I am repeating myself, but too many of us think anxiety and depression can be managed on our own or will pass with time. As someone who has had anxiety since I was 17, I can tell you it has taken awareness, and medical help, and self-care to make progress.
Unfortunately, mental illness is a tricky rascal to diagnose, but as the above statistics show there are a lot of us suffering from a mental health issue. But how do you decide if that is what is really going on? Again, I like to tell people if ANY part of your instincts thinks something is not quite right, trust that and get help… whether it’s for you or your child. Here are the warning signs according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness:
So here’s what I need you to know: We all know how important it is to take care of our body health – exercise and eat right, right? And if we have symptoms, aches and pains, we call up the experts, the doctors, and we get help. Well, we need to take that same level of care for our MIND as well. How do we do that? Get lots of sleep, take time to recharge and have fun, get outside and be active in nature, forgive yourself for being human and making mistakes. Most importantly, if you have pain of the mental kind, get professional help. Your brain can hurt just like every other part of your body. Maybe more so. Xxx