Mental Health Awareness Month

By FPL_LorrieP

May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month since 1946.

Mental illness tends to have a very negative connotation in our society, although millions of people suffer from some form of it in the United States alone. It’s often thought that if you’re mentally ill, you’re crazy…hearing voices, seeing imaginary people, or unable to function normally, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. See the Mayo Clinic's, opens a new window site on mental illness.

Mental illness includes a variety of conditions such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders

Although these disorders can be extremely debilitating, most can be treated or controlled with medication and/or therapy.

Some signs that you, or someone you know, may be suffering from some form of mental illness as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, opens a new window:

  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care.
  • Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings, greater irritability.
  • Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
  • Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks.
  • Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain.
  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
  • Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
  • Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.
  • Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.
  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling.
  • Unusual behavior — Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
  • Changes in school or work — Increased absenteeism, worsening performance, difficulties in relationships with peers and co-workers.

One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness but may indicate a need for further evaluation.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, here are some helpful resources:

Items to check-out from FPL:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month