Mental Health and Wellness Committee
(This is an article from the Mental Health America website)
1 in 5 Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in his/her life,
One half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.
Mental Health America has identified 4 stages in order to help us change the way we think about mental health.
Changing the Way We Think
Stage 1: Mild Symptoms and Warning Signs at Stage 1: a person begins to show symptoms of a mental health condition, but is still able to maintain the ability to function at home, work, or school-although perhaps not as easily as before they started to show symptoms. Often there is a sense that something is “not right.”
Stage 2: Symptoms Increase in Frequency and Severity and Interfere with Life Activities and Roles at Stage 2; it usually becomes obvious that something is wrong. A person’s symptoms may become stronger and last longer or new symptoms may start appearing on top of existing ones, creating something of a snowball effect. Performance at work or school will become more difficult, and a person may have trouble keeping up with family duties, social obligations, or personal responsibilities.
Stage 3: Symptoms Worsen with Relapsing and Recurring Episodes Accompanied by Serious Disruption in Life Activities and Roles at Stage 3; symptoms have continued to increase in severity, and many symptoms are often taking place at the same time. A person may feel as though he/she is losing control of his/her life and the ability to fill his/her roles at home, work, or school.
Stage 4: Symptoms are Persistent and Severe and Have Jeopardized One’s Life by Stage 4; the combination of extreme, prolonged and persistent symptoms and impairment often results in development of other health conditions and has the potential to turn into a crisis event like unemployment, hospitalization, homelessness, or even incarceration. In the worst cases, untreated mental illnesses can lead to loss of life an average of 25 years early.
One way to see if you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a screening. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a quick, confidential screening for a variety of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Use your screening results to start a conversation with your primary care provider, or a trusted friend or family member and begin to plan a course of action.
Remember, mental health conditions are not only common, they are treatable.