When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. When people are in the first stage of those diseases and are beginning to show signs or symptoms like a persistent cough, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, we try immediately to reverse these symptoms. We don’t ignore them. In fact, we develop a plan of action to reverse and sometimes stop the progression of the disease. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.(1)
50 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.(2)
Early Stages of Mental Health Conditions
Identification and Intervention
Catching mental health conditions early is known as Early Identification and Intervention. However, many times people may not realize that their symptoms are being caused by a mental health condition or feel ashamed to pursue help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s up to all of us to know the signs and take action so that mental illnesses can be caught early and treated, and we can live up to our full potential. Even though mental illnesses may require intensive, long-term treatment and a lot of hard work at the later stages, people can and do recover and reclaim their lives.
One way to see if you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a screening. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a quick, confidential screening for a variety of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Use your screening results to start a conversation with your primary care provider, or a trusted friend or family member and begin to plan a course of action for addressing your mental health.
Remember, mental health conditions are not only common, they are treatable. There is a wide variety of treatment options for mental illnesses ranging from talk therapy to medication to peer support, and it may take some time for a person to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that works best for them. But when they do, the results can be truly amazing and life changing.
For more information about what you should know and what you can do at each stage, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.