Written by, Bernadyn
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I'm so thankful that there is a month devoted to this important topic. I do wish that it was something talked about more often and more openly, instead of in a "hush-hush" tone behind closed doors. Mental health awareness is something that we recently discovered has been affecting our family, causing me to be more proactive in learning more about mental health disorders and how to prevent them as much as possible. When mental health affects someone you love, it affects you, as well.
Our New "Normal" and Our Struggle with Dealing with Mental Health Disorders
My newest post over at Jacksonville Moms Blog is a snippet of our journey with battling mental health disorders. We're still struggling with it and everything that it includes, such as dealing with insurance, the process of finding the right people to talk to like doctors and therapists; finding the right resources; and navigating lifestyle changes.
These are all part of the big mess of a struggle that is now our new "normal." It's a struggle that many people will deal with for the rest of their lives and unfortunately, not everyone will be properly diagnosed for any mental health disorders to know how to properly handle their mental health issues. That only makes their fight even harder. I think it's always better to know than not to know.
We discovered that our loved one's mental health disorders were triggered by environmental stress factors, making it erupt and come to the surface, which is often what happens when mental health disorders are discovered during adulthood.
Some mental health disorders can be linked to genetics. Someone else in the family may have been suffering from it, as well. The problem is that if they were never diagnosed, they were most likely never properly treated and it unfortunately also kept the rest of the family in the dark about their condition(s).
Keep in mind that mental health disorders include things you may not realize fall under the umbrella of mental health problems. These can also include anxiety disorders and panic disorders, health problems that are commonly diagnosed. I know that I for one was not aware that these were considered mental health illnesses.
National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (May 9) - See more at: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2012/Closing-the-Gap-for-Children-s-Mental-Health#sthash.Zt8jUkpj.dpuf
Many mental health disorders also stem from childhood and the adolescent years, which is why I want to stress the importance of being aware of your child's mental health state. Research shows that half of all mental health illnesses begins by age fourteen. As a parent, I'm striving to be aware of signs to look for and how to help prevent mental health challenges, especially so that it does not affect them in their adult years.
I think the hardest part of dealing with mental health problems is the stigma that often comes with it. Unfortunately, that problem is typically due to people not understanding it and they may have not been exposed to the facts and stories behind mental health disorders.
I think listening and reading about other family's stories and experiences with mental health will be an eye-opener and can give people a better look into the lens of mental health awareness. Also, researching and educating ourselves about mental health illnesses are the best things we can do to help prevent more people from suffering from it and will help break the stigma associated with it.
I hope our story inspires other people or offers encouragement for others to share their stories and for those who may not know much about mental health to start learning more. Take a look at the Mental Health Awareness article I wrote for a closer look at our story and information and resources that may help anyone else coping with mental health issues, whether it's for yourself or someone you know.
Let's generate more mental health awareness! Share this post and pass it along to a friend. I'm in no way an expert on this or a medical health professional. I wanted to share our personal experience to create more awareness and hopefully, to help someone else out there who may be dealing with any of these issues.
If you think you or someone you know has a mental health disorder, please consult a doctor or the proper health professionals.
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