It’s time for mental health to become top-of-mind
World Mental Health Day is October 10. It’s a day that can’t come soon enough. Nearly one in five American adults lives with a mental illness that requires treatment. But estimates show that only half of those people receive treatment. That’s because unlike other diseases, mental illness still carries a social stigma that often dissuades people from seeking the treatment that can improve their lives — from their mood, to their emotions, to the ability to relate to other people.
Fortunately, more and more people are beginning to recognize mental illness for what it is: an illness. One that affects tens of millions of people:
• 19.1% of U.S. adults have an anxiety disorder, with a rate higher for women (23.4%) than for men (14.3%).
• 16.2 million Americans suffer episodes of depression
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 3.6% of U.S. adults each year
• 5.7 million people suffer from bipolar disorder, including 2.9% of adolescents
• 30 million Americans live with an eating disorder
• 9.1% of adults have a personality disorder
Because of the prevailing social silence on mental health issues, symptoms of a true illness are often ignored. Knowing what to look for is the key to seeking treatment for the most common mental illnesses, either for yourself or someone you love.
• Feeling restless or on-edge
• Difficulty concentrating
• Muscle tension
• Feelings of worry that are difficult to control
• Trouble falling or staying asleep
• Trouble concentrating and making decisions
• Feelings of pessimism, guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness
• Insomnia, irritability and restlessness
• Loss of interest in things that bring pleasure
• Suicidal thoughts
• Overeating or loss of appetite
• At least one manic episode (inexplicable, extreme elation or irritability that lasts at least one week)
• At least one major depressive episode and one manic episode
• Two years or more (one in children and teenagers) with periods of mania and depressive symptoms
• Recurring unwanted distressing memories of a traumatic event
• Nightmares about the traumatic event
• Intense emotional or physical reaction to the event
There are numerous types of personality disorders, including schizophrenia, paranoid personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and more. Each has its own unique symptoms. For a comprehensive list of types and symptoms, visit the Personality Disorders page of our clinical partner, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463.
HELP IS AT HAND
At St. Clair Hospital, our Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Services provides the care, support and hope that people living with mental illnesses need and deserve. In our safe and compassionate environment, we help patients understand their illnesses and begin the recovery process. If you suspect that you or a family member may be living with an undiagnosed mental health condition, we’re here to help — and have been for more than 25 years. To learn more, please visit stclair.org/services/psychiatry-and-mental-health-services. In an emergency, please call our Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Services at 412.942.4860 or visit our Emergency Room at 1000 Bower Hill Road in Mt. Lebanon, and take the first step toward better mental health.