Updated: May 10, 2019
The numbers are staggering. The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports nearly 44 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year—that’s about one in five adults.
Mental health affects everything—it’s our emotional and psychological state of mind impacting how we think, feel and act. But when something feels out of whack, it can pose issues to your day-to-day routine and wellbeing.
Mental illness disorders include anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and many others. The two most common mental health illnesses are depression, affecting more than 16 million Americans, and anxiety, which impacts 42.5 million Americans. There is no single cause for mental illness—genetics, environment and lifestyle can all trigger mental illness.
Unlike illnesses of the rest of the body, mental illness has been swept under the rug for many years because it hasn’t been as widely accepted as a serious medical issue.
It’s important to remember that everyone will experience anxiety and sadness at some moment in their life. However, when that anxiety and sadness is overwhelming and occurs regularly, a mental illness may be the cause and you should seek help. You don’t have to live with the symptoms; there are resources available to feel better.
While every mental illness is different, here are seven common signs to help determine if you or a loved one may be suffering:
- Change in feelings or demeanor
When a person is suffering from a mental illness, they may experience increased feelings of worry, panic, sadness or hopelessness.
- Loss of interest
They may start avoiding friends, family and activities that used to once bring pleasure.
- Change in sleeping habits
Sleeping patterns may change to sleeping too much or too little, especially when compared to previous sleep routines.
- Low energy
This can manifest itself as either sleeping too much, or having the inability to carry out everyday activities and tasks such as work or even self-care.
- Difficulty interacting
Many times people with a mental illness will find it hard to understand or relate to others. This may also present as extreme irritability with others or themselves.
- Appetite or weight changes
Dietary changes, whether it is excessive eating or little to no eating, is a large indicator of depression.
- Uncontrollable emotions
A distinct, rapid mood swing from sadness to happiness, or similar emotions on opposite ends of the spectrum, may be an indicator of mental health struggles.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? The best thing to do is to ask for help. A family doctor or mental health clinic can provide you with great options to help you get started. By getting help, you can take control of your symptoms and in many cases, recover completely.
In Michigan, there are a number of resources for mental health help across the state. One of the biggest providers in the West Michigan area is Pine Rest. In Southeast Michigan, Oakland Psychological Clinic is a great option with locations in Livonia, Flint, Southfield and more. The Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Authority has a number of resources for northern counties in the state. For Michiganders in need of free or low-cost mental health, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a county map of community mental health service programs.
Your health insurance company can also be a resource for mental health help. At Priority Health, we provide our members with tools such as what help is available, what your plan will cover and how to find counselors or behavioral health care providers to meet your needs. Available 24/7, your call is completely confidential. Log in to the member center for more information.
In addition to getting professional help when necessary, there are a few other ways to maintain positive mental health such as regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, helping others and taking time for yourself. If you are a Priority Health member, the Wellbeing Hub is a great resource for tips and tricks to help boost your mental health.
Whatever tools you use for help, take the time to make your mental health a priority. Your mind and health is certainly worth it.