Disorder characterized by psychological symptoms, abnormal behaviors, impairment in
functioning, or any combination of these, that causes significant distress and impairment
--Some examples include Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, Substance
WHO IS AFFECTED BY MENTAL ILLNESS?
Almost everyone’s life is touched by mental or emotional problems.
--One in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
--Major depressive disorder affects 6.7% of adults & is the leading cause of disability in US.
--Anxiety disorders affect 18.7% of adults & frequently co-occur with depression or addiction
--Less than 1/3rd of adults and ½ of children with mental disorder receive mental health
services each year.
Create environment of strengths and promote understanding with “people-first” language.
--Don’t label people as crazy, wacko, loony.
--Don’t say someone is a schizophrenic but s/he has schizophrenia.
--Instead of an autistic child, say a child with autism.
A person is so much more than their illness or label. Help make that distinction.
CHALLENGING COMMON MYTHS WITH THE FACTS:
Unfortunate myths and misperceptions abound when it comes to mental illness and emotional concerns.
Myth: Mental illness is due to personal failure, weakness, or a character flaw.
Fact: Mental illnesses result from the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Events like loss of a loved one or a job can also contribute to the development of various mental health problems. People aren’t weak; in fact, it takes courage to confront problems and seek help.
Myth: Children don't experience mental illnesses. Acting out is just a product of bad parenting and seeking attention.
Fact: Just like adults, kids experience clinically diagnosable mental health conditions from the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Behavior problems can be symptoms of mental problems, rather than merely attention-seeking devices. Kids can succeed in school with appropriate understanding, support, and mental health services.
Myth: Addiction is a lifestyle choice and shows lack of willpower.
Fact: Addiction is a disease generally resulting from changes in brain chemistry. Nothing to do with being a “bad” person.
Myth: People with mental illnesses are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: Actually, the vast majority of people with mental health conditions are no more violent
than anyone else. People with mental illnesses are much more likely to be the
victims of crime.
Myth: Once people develop mental illnesses, they will never recover. Therapy and self-help are a waste of time.
Fact: Studies show that most people with mental illnesses get better, and many recover completely. Treatment varies depending on the individual, but working with trained professionals during the recovery process can be effective. Therapy is often combined with some of the most advanced medications available.
HOW TO SUPPORT LOVED ONES
1. Educate yourself about the illness. Seek out resources.
2. Offer practical help and emotional support.
3. Have realistic expectations.
4. Be available to work closely with a treatment team, but let your loved one have control.
5. Set appropriate limits or boundaries.
6. Recognize your loved one’s courage, convey hope, and don’t judge.
7. Be an advocate. Get political.
8. Take care of yourself.
HOW TO COPE
1. Accept your feelings.
2. Establish a support network.
3. Seek counseling.
4. Take time out.