I'll tell you in researching and beginning conversation with some Northwest Arkansas Bloggers, I've realized that we like to think about this issue in terms of the big 3 or those people going to counseling or who don't have it bad enough to need it, but there are a lot of "diseases" and "disorders" that fall in to this arena.
I remember when I was at my first cancer appointment with my doctor and he asked me, "have you had any mood swings or changes in your mental health?" Evidently mood swings and changes in mental feelings are a Stage 4 sign of Hodgkins. But, my response that day was, "well, nothing worse than the way I normally feel in winter." While undiagnosed, I know I deal with some layer/form/version of SAD, seasonal affect disorder.
That's the kind of thing I'm talking about...there are all kids of feelings, moods, behaviors that we lump in this cause and focus on this month, May, Mental Health Awareness month.
What is Mental Illness and what falls in that category?
- So as to not insult or underinform, let me challenge you to check out this list of mental health conditions. These are not crazy, tyrannical, movie-esque type people that we are talking about. These are disorders that our neighbors, sisters, bosses, community group leader and the face in the mirror all deal with!
- There are categories and subcategories of the conditions we think of off the top of our head. Research, educate, and inform yourself.
- Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a person's "character" or intelligence.
- Between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.
- Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By getting people the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness. (these facts from NAMI website)
In Northwest Arkansas, there are a few non-profit organizations doing something about mental health:
- Ozark Guidance Center - programs and services
- National Mental Health - mentalhealth.gov - lives by the mantra that treatment works and recovery is real
- Soldier on Service Dog - a local veteran program in NWA
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Arkansas chapter - info here - NAMI can help with medical fees and provide connection to services even for those who are incarcerated and underserved populations.
- NAMI - list of local resources across our state
- Arkansas Advocates for Children and Famlies (AACF) - statewide resource for children suffering from mental illness
- Arkansas Suicide and Prevention Center
- Mental Health America
- Follow: #mentalillnessfeelslike and #mentalhealthmatters to stay part of the conversation
This post is part of the #NWArkCares series by the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers group. To view other posts, visit the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers Pinterest Board or follow #NWArkCares through social media.