Mental Health Care

Mental health issues are widespread but they are rarely talked about or understood. Despite its gravity and risks, mental illness is taken too lightly. An individual’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.

Mental health issues can affect anyone at any stage in life, including children, pregnant women and seniors.

Being familiar with and understanding mental health, at least on a basic level, can help you identify possible issues in yourself and others. A lack of mental well being can pose a risk to your physical health as well as your relationships with others. Understanding the mental health care options available and where to seek help, should you or someone you know need it, can prevent permanent harm.

Mental Health Basics

There are many misconceptions about mental health that stop many suffering individuals from seeking the help they need. Most believe that mental illnesses are rare and that only those who seem visibly “crazy” suffer from mental conditions. However, this is very far from the truth. Mental health issues are very common, ranging from reactions to temporary, circumstantial problems to chronic, life-long illnesses. Many people do not understand mental health basics and misconceptions only serve to create a culture of shame around mental health issues, which tends to hinder sufferers from recognizing their need for mental health care.

There are several factors involved in the development of a mental illness, although not all may be present in a given situation. Genetics can affect a person’s brain chemistry, which may lead to mental illness at some point in his or her life. A family history of mental illness can mean an individual is predisposed to developing a condition. Traumatic life experiences can also affect the mental wellbeing of an individual who would otherwise not have suffered from a mental illness.

Seeking help and treatment for mental health issues and possible illnesses is important, as many conditions require medication or therapy. Mental health issues are possible to develop at any age and, for a variety of reasons, most are not aware of. Children showing symptoms of mental issues are typically written off as having behavioral issues, but these symptoms can be a sign of a developing or established serious mental illness. It is important to seek the proper medical help when a child shows signs of deteriorating mental health.

Common Mental Health Conditions

While there are many mental health conditions, being familiar with the most common ones can help make it clear when you or a loved one needs medical attention. The more informed you are of the most common mental health conditions, the easier it will become to identify symptoms and possible disorders in yourself and others.

Mental illness is far from rare but can be difficult to identify or understand. Certain conditions only show symptoms during episodes, where the affected individual actively suffers during a period where the condition is triggered. Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can be hard to recognize without medical assistance since these disorders are not always present or evident.

The mental health conditions that are recognized most often in sufferers are anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders are easily overwhelmed by normal, everyday tasks and situations, and tend to be worried or stressed the majority of the time. More severe cases may include physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath or chest pain.

Trauma and stress-related disorders are among the most well known mental health conditions, although these disorders usually have misconceptions surrounding them. Many believe that disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder only happen to soldiers who have seen battle, but they can be developed by anyone after experiencing a traumatic event. Those who suffer from trauma and stress-related disorders usually have mental flashbacks to the traumatic event or have nightmares which may prevent them from sleeping properly.

Other common mental health conditions, such as substance abuse and eating disorders, are generally not seen as mental conditions and are disregarded by many. However, these conditions are mental health issues and should still be treated as such. Although many believe substance abuse is purely a choice, addiction to substances such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a mental health condition, which the sufferer can usually not deal with alone. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are also seen as a choice of habit, but these conditions are serious and should not be taken lightly. Both disorders can lead sufferers to lose an unhealthy amount of weight, which can affect other aspects of their physical health.

Types of Mental Health Treatment

Having a mental health condition or illness does not have to mean being mentally unwell. There are many different types of mental health treatments available to help those who suffer from mental conditions get back to feeling functional and well. While there are many ways to seek treatment, the best way to find the right treatment is usually through a primary care physician. A doctor can determine what kind of treatment might be necessary and can refer patients to the correct mental health professional or facility.

In many cases, mental health counseling is a great option for treatment. Mental health counseling usually includes seeing a psychologist regularly for scheduled therapy sessions. Therapy sessions with a psychologist can help those who are struggling with a condition due to temporary circumstances and do not need medication.

In more severe cases, counseling may not be enough to treat a mental health condition. Those who suffer from chronic and severe mental illness may benefit from medication prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist. While a general practitioner can prescribe medication, he or she may not be well versed in mental health conditions, so it may be beneficial to see a psychiatrist when medication is needed. A psychiatrist can more accurately diagnose a condition and choose the medication that is best suited for the patient.

Getting Mental Health Treatment

Finding mental health treatment for yourself or others might seem undoable, but there are many ways to get treatment. Seeking mental health treatment for yourself may be as easy as talking to your doctor. However, disclosing all the information your doctor needs in order to offer accurate advice can be difficult. Learning how to speak to your doctor about any mental issues you may be experiencing before visiting your doctor can help you get the proper care you need and deserve.

Intervening when a family member or friend is struggling with a mental condition can be risky to a relationship but it may be the only way to keep someone from harm. Although this may be a difficult task, there are ways to go about it that can make the processes easier. Parents concerned about a child’s mental health also have options in seeking proper diagnosis and treatment.

Mental health treatment often seems like it comes at a high out-of-pocket cost, and while this may be the case for some, it certainly does not have to be the case for everyone. Many health insurance policies cover some, if not all, mental health care expenses, including medication. Preventive mental health care services, such as mental health screenings, are typically offered by insurance plans free of cost.

Mental Health Resources

Recovering from a mental illness can be difficult, but having the right mental health resources can make a difference on the road to recovery. Whether you are suffering from a mental illness or know a family member or friend who is, accessing the right resources can help in identifying and resolving issues that may arise from having a mental illness. Knowing the rights of those who have mental illnesses can be useful in the event of job or housing discrimination. If you are a parent of a child who has a mental condition, then it may also be beneficial to learn ways in which you can advocate for your child at school.

It might also interest you: