Trigger Warning: Please be advised that if you are currently struggling with trauma or any other mental health-related issue, in this post we will be discussing these topics to hopefully educate and enlighten people. Words and reenactments are involved and could be triggering for some people.
If I asked every individual I knew or met, how they would define what mental health is, the responses I get would be a wide variety of unique stories, along with indications from some people that have been suppressing their own signals and emotions; denying their own understanding for the topic of mental health, and possibly denying the self-realization that they suffer from a mental health issue. It’s really quite difficult to define mental illness as one thing that everyone will understand. The problem today is that we as a society don’t understand enough about what mental health is, or how important it is.
Trigger warnings are becoming more necessary as we prepare to discuss topics surrounding mental health because someone who is struggling should have advance notice of what they are about to read or see.
Imagine this: the black curtains you hung up, couldn’t be any darker. You purchased an oversized sweater because you thought they were talking about your stomach. The sound of someone striking their hand, made you go into the bathroom for your escape remedy. They hear you talking, but are probably currently having a conversation in their head contemplating if they are real or not. These examples are just a few of the many situations people are facing today. Some of these situations are brutally violent and could cost someone their life. The top leading causes of death in the United States of America involve diseases and suicide. While I am not a licensed physician or psychologist, I am an undergraduate student majoring in biology and have learned that mental health issues could affect more than just the psychological well-being of a person. It could also surface physical issues, such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, memory loss, shortness of breath, hyperventilating and many other manifestations.
Many people who suffer from mental health issues also face the socio-economic problem of affordable cost of healthcare and/or affordable health insurance. It can cost as much as $300 for a therapy session in the United States according to D.Russell Crane, Ph.D. He clarifies the cost affection for families and individuals seeking professional psychological help in an article titled, “Individual Versus Family Psychotherapy in Managed Care: Comparing the Costs of Treatment by the Mental Health Professions.” The cost alone for medication can cost anywhere between $20-$1,300 depending on which medical provider someone is on. Michael Von Korff, ScD, et. al, elaborated on the cost for helping those suffering with depression alone, in an article titled, “Treatment Costs, Costs Off-set, and Cost-Effectiveness of Collaborative Management of Depression.” and concluded that while collaborative care did increase the cost of treatment of depression, it also increased the cost-effectiveness and increased the overall value of such treatment.
A good starting place is finding resources for those who don’t have easy or affordable access to professional help. If you see a friend showing signs of stress, for example: biting their nails, bouncing their leg, tapping on things, shaking, etc., consider giving them a glass of ice-cold water or ask if they want to go outside for some fresh air. If someone is struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed, ask if you could accompany them and maybe cook their favorite meal for them. Someone who is happy one minute and frustrated the next could benefit from someone else showing them patience. There are also a few free resources available for recommendations, these options include:
- Downloading “Self-Care” apps on a phone, computer, tablet, etc.
- Downloading the app, “Pinterest” and creating “boards” that include healthy coping mechanisms, free resource websites, activities, goal setting, planning events, etc.
- Writing poetry to either keep private or share with local cafe open mic events.
- Researching reliable and credible articles on “Google Scholar,” from real-life professionals.
- Making time for mental health breaks (and if needed, block time on your work calendar to facilitate this.)
- If you or someone you know, can’t access providers/professionals, possibly consider herbalism – herbal medicine and/or the use of essential oils.
- Twitter, Instagram, and Discord offer groups that connect through common illnesses such as, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, suicide, PTSD, etc. and could possibly provide further resources.
- Talking with a trusted friend, parent, teacher, role-model, etc.
People who have access to health insurance and can afford medication, also experience prejudice and that can cause those individuals to not speak out when they need help. It can be hard to understand when someone is going through something if they aren’t showing noticeable signs. The best thing to realize is that having an open mind and patience for those individuals can have a positive effect on them.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about mental health you can always visit or direct them to https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ to help self-educate on the topic. If you or someone you know are currently dealing with mental illness please make sure to visit the resources stated above and if you or someone you know if currently suicidal please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1.