Since 1949, the month of May has been recognized as “Mental Health Month”. It was established to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. At that time, many people didn’t talk about how they were feeling and suffered alone. Help wasn’t readily available due to the lack of knowledge about such illnesses. Over the decades, mental health doctors and researchers have learned about the many faces of mental illness and how to help those struggling.
Stats show that in 2019, nearly 50 million or 19.86% of adults in America experience a mental illness. (Source) The past two years of the pandemic resulted in a new level of stress and anxiety into our lives, creating a growing number of both adults and youth suffering from major depression.
Knowing the warning signs and symptoms is key to getting the help needed. There are many mental health illnesses, each having their own symptoms, but there are common signs such as:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
Every month, not just the month of May, we need to be aware of the mental health of our loved ones and of ourselves. We need to check in with those who may feel lonely or isolated and see how we can help.
CalCPA Health medical subscribers have access to understanding mental health and what resources are available to them (Visit https://www.anthem.com/ca/mental-health). Another resource CalCPA Health medical members have access to is LiveHealth Online which offers psychology and psychiatrist visits online.
If you or someone you know needs help now, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.