Bringing attention to mental health illnesses
By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in America, 43.8 million or 18 percent, suffer from a mental disorder within a given year according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. More than 90 percent of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. It is the third leading cause of death in ages 10 to 24 and the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 years old.
Mental health issues have been overlooked and ignored by society for years. In recent years the issue of how those with mental health conditions have been viewed and discussed, as well as treated. The statistics for mental health issues that result in death or life long medical conditions is extremely high and incredibly tragic. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Depression is among the most common and most deadly disorder that teens and young adults face. Many of the victims of this disease do not feel that they can ask for help or express their feelings to others and resort to tragic measures such as self-harm or suicide to cope. The stigma that they face is unacceptable because it could literally be the difference between life and death. Sadly, most college students can say that they know at least one person from school they knew has committed suicide. Fortunately, there are ways to help and possibly save a life in the process.
There are several ways to treat depression, but the first step is to know how to identify the signs. Common signs are prolonged sadness or crying spells, significant changes in appetite or sleeping patterns, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, anger, anxiety, recurring thoughts of death or suicide, loss of energy and social withdrawal. Even though it feels like there is no way of ever getting out from under the dark clouds that follow one around, once one identifies these signs there can be.
The first steps to treating one’s own depression or helping a friend, are by learning as much about depression as possible. It takes time to find the right treatment that is individualized and patience is needed as well as a support system. No one should have to face this battle alone or feel that they are completely alone. Talking to someone is the first step to receiving help and then seeking professional help such as a therapist or doctor.
Some lifestyle changes can help as well. Regular exercise, eating small well balanced meals throughout the day, getting enough sleep each night and on a consistent schedule, as well as reducing stress and maintaining a social network to reduce isolation can all be beneficial.
Medications may be offered as a supplemental help to treating depression on doctor’s orders in addition to therapy. The main thing to remember is that treatment and recovery take time and patience. Once on this road there may be some bumps and stumbles. Do not be discouraged and seek support from others.
Colleges also often offer support for those that may not be able to afford therapy and medications or who lack health insurance. Counseling services are available here at Schoolcraft within the McDowell Center and can be contacted by phone at 734.462.4429 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schoolcraft also offers the Active Minds club that offer support to discuss as well as fight against mental health diseases. The Wellness Fair will be held on Oct. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Lower Waterman of the VistaTech Center. This fair promotes awareness of mental health and wellness while connecting students to free or affordable resources.
Mental health is important. Depression should not be fought alone; one just has to ask for help to prevent the tragedy of suicide from occurring. Save a life and seek help.