Mental Illness Awareness Week 2022

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2022

This week Oct. 2 – Oct. 8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Read the post below to learn about the warning signs and risk factors of mental illness. We will also add some coping skills that can be helpful for those experiencing distress. Please use the contact form at bottom of the page if you or a loved one needs further assistance- at Serenity we are here to help!

What Are Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Mental Illness?

Some mental illnesses may be hereditary, while others are developed. There are a variety of warning signs that signal mental health issues as well as additional risk factors that can lead to mental health problems.

Some warning signs of mental illness are:

  • Appetite changes
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Engaging in risky behaviors (self-harm, sexual acting out, disordered eating or other compulsive behaviors)
  • Mental distress (worrisome thoughts, tension, insecurity)
  • Negative impacts on relationships (isolating, arguing, etc.)
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

Other risk factors of mental illness include:

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Past or present trauma
  • Present or past experiences of being abused or assaulted
  • Sudden loss

If you are experiencing warning signs of mental illness, consider reaching out to a professional for help. If someone you know is struggling with any of these symptoms, we recommend the “QPR” approach.

A great way to help a loved one into care is to remember the acronym QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer.

  1. Question: Directly ask the individual you are concerned about how they are doing, sharing your care and concern.
  2. Persuade: Talk to the person about the benefits of seeking out care with a mental health professional who can provide support and resources to address overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
  3. Refer: Support the individual in seeking out care by helping them to find available care, helping them to make an appointment or even taking them to the appointment.

Ways to Cope with Stress

Stress management can be a vital aspect of success, especially for busy individuals who may also be working or caring for others. The CDC recommends several methods to help manage stress:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Avoidance of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • Cultivating healthy relationships
  • Eating well
  • Exercising
  • Meditation, breathing exercises and other self-care activities

At times, it is necessary also to set boundaries, to communicate needs, to be flexible to changing circumstances and to let go of perfectionistic standards. There should be no shame in seeking out mental health care as needed, just as one would not feel shame in seeking medical care for a persistent medical issue.

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