Mental health help available

Mental health help available

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With Jess Willard

The saying that surrounds the month of March is that it goes “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” According to the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac, it’s a weather folklore saying, but it also has application to our existence. “Those beliefs often included ideas that there should be a balance in weather and life,” their staff wrote. “So, if a month came in bad (roaring like a lion), it should go out good and calm (docile, like a lamb).”

You may be hitting a point in your life where you feel like a roadblock is preventing you from achieving your goals, or you may be facing an unexpected difficult situation that seems to never end. Perhaps, life feels pointless, hopeless or a cycle of unfortunate events. This is a point that I recently reached and wasn’t sure where I should turn to pull out of the funk.

Mental health is a topic that everyone seems to know about, but no one really wants to talk about it. However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) stated, “Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million or 18.5 percent — experiences mental illness in a given year.” In addition, one in 25 adults in the U.S. face a serious mental illness in a given year that significantly impedes on one or more major life activities.

Considering that so many people’s capacity to function normally is impaired, it appears strange that “only 41 percent of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9 percent received mental health services in the past year,” according to NAMI. These numbers reflect that a majority of U.S. citizens with a mental health condition are not seeking the help they need.

Speaking from the perspective of someone with a diagnosed mental disorder, it can be incredibly difficult to admit that you can’t handle it alone. For me, it was a matter of pride; I didn’t want to believe that I was facing a challenge that I couldn’t get past by myself. I continued to push myself to my absolute limit and got to the point where I had to put a hold on my college career. It was only when I physically couldn’t get out of bed in the morning that I knew I had to reach out.

There are signs to tell if you or someone you know may be facing a mental illness. Mental Health America said that some of these include prolonged sadness or irritability, social withdrawal, dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits and suicidal thoughts. If any of the listed examples sound familiar, consider reaching out to your primary care physician about possible problems and treatment.

March may seem like a ferocious lion attempting to mentally tear you limb from limb, but with medical help and by talking about the trials you’re facing, it has the potential to go out gently like a lamb.