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World Mental Health Day 2020: Raising Awareness

On October 10th, World Mental Health Day will be observed to remind us all of the importance of mental health awareness. On this day, mental health providers have a platform to talk about what is still needed for people struggling with mental health issues. When we discuss these issues openly, it makes it easier for people to reach out for the treatment they need.

The Origin of World Mental Health Day 

The first World Mental Health Day was held on October 10, 1992, as an activity of the World Federation of Mental Health. For several years, there was no specific theme. However, as the years went by, the importance of mental health awareness grew. The day began to have themes that reflected the important issues in mental health news. Themes in the last 10 years have included:

  • Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (2019)
  • Young people and mental health in a changing world (2018)
  • Mental health in the workplace (2017)
  • Psychological First Aid (2016)
  • Dignity in Mental Health (2015)
  • Living with Schizophrenia (2014)
  • Mental Health and Older Adults (2013)

Current Mental Health News

Just like physical health, the science of mental health is always evolving. Mental health news has reported more and more research on the link between trauma and mental health. As we go through this pandemic, people are losing their jobs. They’re also stuck at home in sometimes dangerous situations. It’s no surprise, then, that the mental health news shows an increase in mental distress.

The pandemic is not only creating new mental health problems. It’s exacerbating existing ones. There are an estimated 450 million people with mental disorders. Research shows that every country has increased mental health disorders. Sadly, every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. It’s clear that we must continue to talk about the importance of mental health awareness.

The Stigma of Mental Health Disorders

Even though this international mental health day has been observed for almost 30 years now, there is still a stigma around mental health issues. Many of us are aware of what is called social stigma, or the way society discriminates against mental disorders. However, not everyone may realize that there is self-stigma too. This is when someone begins to internalize society’s prejudice. Unfortunately, this makes it less likely for someone to seek help.

Continuing to raise the importance of mental health awareness will help reduce stigma. This is why there are opportunities for the public to engage in this annual international mental health day. On October 9th, people all over the world are invited to participate in a virtual march. The march aims to “increase awareness of mental health issues, break down stigma, and bring about policy change.”

National and Florida Statistics

In the United States, about one in five adults have a mental illness. These mental illnesses do vary in severity. In recent mental health news, about 18.9% of adults were shown to have “any mental illness,” while 4.5% had “serious mental illness.”

Some studies have shown that Florida has higher rates of serious mental illness than the national average. Additionally, each year, the statistics increase. Sadly, one study showed that 62.7% of adults in Florida with any mental illness didn’t receive treatment.

Is Addiction Considered a Mental Illness?

When discussing the importance of mental health awareness, it’s necessary to talk about addiction as well. The two are often connected. But, is addiction considered a mental illness? At least one national authority on the topic says yes.

One study showed that 20.2 million adults in the United States had a substance use disorder. Of those people, 7.9 million had another mental illness in addition to their substance use disorder. When people have both illnesses at the same time, this is referred to as “comorbidity” or “dual diagnosis.” Unfortunately, dual diagnosis makes it difficult to treat both mental illness and addiction. But it is possible with the right treatment center and a specialized approach. 

Observing World Mental Health Day Brings Hope

Though it makes us sad to think of people suffering from mental illness, the more action we talk about the importance of mental health awareness, the more hope there is for solutions. That’s why this year, leaders of the international mental health day are doing more to engage the community. If we all do our part, we’ll reduce stigma and make mental health care more accessible to those in need.

The 24-hour virtual march scheduled for October 9th isn’t the only community activity this year. For the first time, the World Health Organization is hosting an online advocacy event on World Mental Health Day. The event is called the Big Event for Mental Health. Staff from around the world will share good mental health news: the work they’re doing to reduce mental illness and addiction.

What are the signs or symptoms of mental illness or addiction?

After learning that so many people are dealing with mental illness or addiction, it’s normal to wonder what you should look for. You might have noticed a loved one seems different. Or maybe you’ve ever wondered if you need help with some of your struggles.

5 Warning Signs of Mental Illness:

  1. A personality change. Maybe you haven’t been feeling like yourself for a while. Or someone you love has been acting very differently.
  2. Unusual anxiety, anger, or moodiness. Look for extreme changes in emotion.
  3. Isolation and social withdrawal. Canceling on plans a lot and spending too much time alone are serious warning signs.
  4. Risky behaviors or lack of self-care. You or someone you love might stop caring as much about hygiene or appearance. Doing dangerous things that are out of the norm like taking drugs is risky behavior.
  5. Feeling overwhelmed or hopeless. 

Signs of Substance Abuse:

  1. Spending time with a different group of people
  2. Poor hygiene
  3. A decline in academic or professional performance
  4. Missing scheduled obligations/responsibilities
  5. Loss of enjoyment in normal activities
  6. Trouble with authority
  7. Changes in sleep or eating routines
  8. Losing relationships with friends and family

Types of Mental Health Treatment

Not everyone requires the same level of treatment. Medical professionals will look at the severity of the illness as well as whether there is a dual diagnosis before setting a treatment plan. Treatment methods vary in length and commitment.

Detox

The process of eliminating drugs or alcohol out of a person’s system. Depending on the length and type of substance use, will depend on the length of detox. Often people require medical detox to avoid severe and uncomfortable withdrawals. 

This is not a standalone treatment method. This is only the first step to further treatment. Individuals will need an addiction treatment program to overcome the reasons they started using drugs or alcohol, to begin with. 

Outpatient 

This is when a patient lives independently but regularly attends appointments. People who still have structure, a good support system, and reliable transportation are more likely to benefit from this method. Visits vary from daily to weekly. Treatment may last months or years.

Inpatient

This is when a patient stays in a hospital or clinic for supervised, round-the-clock care. It is more common for people with serious mental health issues or those needed ongoing support as they discontinue substance abuse.

This form of treatment is for people who do not have good structure or support. It can also be for people recovering from addiction who have not found other methods successful.

Sober Living

This is for people who are transitioning from an inpatient or outpatient program. They slowly gain independence while still in a structured environment.

Telehealth 

Online treatment and phone options. This has become more popular and necessary during the pandemic. Individuals can attend treatment from the comfort of their own home. 

These treatment options are not exhaustive. It’s important to seek help from professionals to determine the best treatment for you or your loved one. If we continue to put importance on mental health awareness, more options will become available to more people.

Offering Help and Hope for Those With Mental Health Disorders

We hope this information has been helpful. Please remember that not all mental health news is bad news. The reason an international mental health day was established was to reduce stigma and make help more accessible.

Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and addiction is the first step to healing. Then you or your loved ones can reach out to professionals to find the right support. Government websites offer lots of information on finding the right treatment.

If you or a loved one are seeking help in Florida, please know that we are here for you. We offer a wide variety of services For more information about our services, please contact us here.

References:

https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2020/.

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-08-2020-world-mental-health-day-an-opportunity-to-kick-start-a-massive-scale-up-in-investment-in-mental-health.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml.

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/2015_Florida_BHBarometer.pdf.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health/index.shtml.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201505/5-warning-signs-mental-health-risk

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/step-by-step-guides-to-finding-treatment-drug-use-disorders/if-your-teen-or-young-adult-has-problem-drugs/how-to-recognize-substance-use.

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