Friday, April 30, 2010

How is your mental health?

Did you know that about one in four adults — suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year? That is over 57 million people. May is mental health month but sometimes recognizing those problems in us or others is difficult. The American psychiatric association has compiled a general list of warning signs for mental illness—take a look at them:

Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Adults
• Personality change
• Inability to cope with problems
• Strange or grandiose ideas
• Excessive anxiety
• Prolonged depression
• Marked changes in eating or sleeping
• Extreme highs and lows
• Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
• Excessive anger or violence
• Thoughts of suicide or homicide (source: American Psychiatric Association)

Things can be a bit trickier in kids as they are still maturing however here’s a list of warning signs that really deserve immediate attention:

Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Children
• Talk about suicide
• Self mutilation
• Mutilation of animals
• Drastic change in eating habits
• Adoption of ritualistic behaviors
• Violence towards others
• Use of alcohol or drugs (source: American Psychiatric Association)

These signs- don’t necessarily mean that there is a mental illness- but - think of this like any other illness, when the symptoms are there, severe enough, and last- we go to a physician. The same goes here- if you or someone you know or a child you know is exhibiting these symptoms than you absolutely need to get them checked out. My recommendation is to talk to your physician or pediatrician and talk about the symptoms like any other problem. It’s important to remember that paying attention to our mental health is a critical healthy habit.


American Psychiatric Association

National Mental Health Association
1-800-969-nmha (6642)

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