America’s Mental Health Crisis

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but America’s mental health crisis is something we need to focus on year-round. According to research conducted by the CDC, 1 out of 7 children in the U.S. between the ages of 2 and 8 years old has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health places the overall numbers at 43.4 million American adults, 18 or older with some form of mental health issues. Despite these high numbers, only half of these children and 59% of these adults receive mental health services or treatment.

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So, what exactly is mental health?
It goes deeper than simply feeling happy, or feeling emotionally stable today but not so much on another day. Mental health is everything including emotional, psychological, and social well-being. These factors all play into all aspects of our lives and are important through the many life-transitions we make – from childhood through the aging process.

Believe it or not, signs indicating that something is off are often quite visible, but they are often dismissed, ignored or simply allowed to get worse due to lack of resources. The problem is not just that many individuals needing treatment are neglected, but that the mental health care system itself is not functional – it is broken. However, we can all do our part to ensure that the people we know, love and care for remain safe.

MentalHealth.gov suggest the following early warning signs that might signal problems:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Remain aware of noticeable changes in people you know well, family and friends, and don’t be afraid to speak up, to talk, to seek help. Mental Health issues should never be something to be ashamed of.

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of healthcare for everyone.

References: US News & World Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Family Foundation, The Guardian, MentalHealth.gov, NIMH.NIH.gov

By WHBlogger

Originally Posted: 05/29/2014

Edited: 05/19/2017

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

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