Mental Health

Mental Health

How well you cope with life - your mental health - is just as important as your physical health. Worry, stress, anxiety affects everyone, but if it overwhelms your ability to cope, make good decisions, and have fulfilling relationships, you need help. Counseling, medications, and supportive friends can help strengthen your ability to cope - and improve your mental health.

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    The symptoms of mania in children and teenagers include an elevated or elated mood that lasts four to five days, as well as a gradual need for less sleep while still being very energized. Other symptoms of mania include the child or teenager talking fast and having racing thoughts. Children and teenagers experiencing a manic episode may also exhibit a gradual interest in sex and could become preoccupied with grandiose ideas or superpowers.
     
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    People need education to recognize the symptoms and signs of mental disorders and suicidal behaviors. Anyone can have a hand in preventing suicide, and enhancing knowledge and involvement in communities is key to forming networks of support.
    When school systems include mental health education as part of the curriculum, teachers, too, learn about suicide prevention. In turn the information students bring home helps to educate their parents, who have a critical need to understand the symptoms of mental disorders and warning signs for suicide.
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    A , Psychiatry, answered

    Stigma and a lack of awareness and understanding often prevent people from recognizing and accepting mental health problems -whether in themselves or others. If we can educate people from a young age on what mental illness is, how to recognize it, what to do about it, and that it is simply another illness like diabetes or high blood pressure, people will be more likely to seek help when they need it.

    The other possible benefit to mental health education in the curriculum is that young people learn to live healthier lives so that they might be less likely to develop mental illness as they get older. I've often had people tell me in therapy that they wish they had learned the skills I'm teaching them in kindergarten!

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    Motivated people can start an initiative, momentum may gather, and perhaps at some point a "champion" may bring additional attention and resources to bear. Survivors of suicide are speaking up; public leaders are beginning to share their own personal stories; and resources for effective programs are emerging. Initiatives in highly targeted, geographically specific areas, which are fertile ground for suicide prevention, are well advised to tailor specific messages and approaches that reflect cultural, age, and gender differences. The media and advocacy groups, ideally in collaboration, can play an important role in reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and suicide, and thus in suicide prevention.
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    It is important for a person with a mental illness, plus his or her family and/or significant supporters, to know about the risks and benefits of any medications prescribed to treat the disorder. That understanding can help the person follow a treatment plan and manage his or her illness. In addition to consumer and family education, education of mental health practitioners on a variety of issues can enhance their helpfulness and boost the likelihood for effective treatment.
    Family involvement is a key factor in treatment with medications. The most effective way found to increase a person's appropriate medication use is to involve the family. Whenever possible, family members should be present when a physician talks with the person about possible side effects and the importance of taking the medication consistently. Practitioner education is necessary to prepare them to discuss the benefits and risks associated with medications. Factors shown to contribute to greater observance of the medication regime are perception of the warmth and friendliness of the physician, and the length of time the physician spends discussing the medications. Since the majority of antidepressant medications are not prescribed by psychiatrists, primary care physicians in particular need broader education on the medications' use in order to avoid making medical mistakes.
    Black box warnings of adverse effects on prescription labels may prompt clinicians' reluctance to use antidepressant medications by patients who might benefit from them. Conversely, concern exists that such warnings may inhibit pharmaceutical companies from pursuing development of medications that may be even more appropriate.
    The period between the start of a medication regime and the time the medication begins to work is a period of significant risk for suicide, and physicians, nurse-practitioners, and other providers along the health care spectrum need education on the necessity and protocols to monitor that risk. Few clinicians conduct adequate monitoring or follow-up of patients for whom they prescribe psychotropic medications. Monitoring is essential to recognize and ensure proper care in the event of adverse side effects, including physical or mental discomfort and/or suicidal ideation. Some side effects may impede adherence to the medication regime.
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    If you have schizophrenia, one type of psychotherapy you may be able to access is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT. In CBT, the therapist will try to make links between how you feel and how you think, to help you develop healthier thinking patterns. CBT has been shown to lead to long-term and continued improvement for some patients.
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    The term 'peer support' is used in the mental health sector to describe a wide range of programs, but at its core is the idea of one mental health consumer giving support to a fellow consumer.
    Peer support programs have been shown to produce better healing outcomes and greater levels of empowerment, increases in social functioning, improvements in quality of life and perceptions of physical and emotional well-being, and increased ability to cope with illness. Through peer support programmes, people are able to meet others who they feel are 'like' them, and they often feel a connection with each other and are able to develop a deep understanding based on their shared experiences.
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    Stigma about mental illness, the negative thoughts and feelings others have about mental health disorders, exists worldwide. In some countries, people with mental illness are constantly faced with negative media stories about mental illness, or have problems getting housing or jobs because of their psychiatric history. In other countries, people with mental illness can be tied up in shackles and sent to the outlying areas of towns.
    Because of the widespread stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness in all communities, people who are diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizophrenia may internalise this stigma, and think that they are inferior to people who do not have a mental illness. Recent research has suggested it is important for clinicians to consider self-stigma when treating all of their patients.
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    Too often people classify a person with serious mental illness (SMI) through their illness, thinking of them as the disorder they have, and not as a person who happens to have a mental disorder. This leads to an impersonal approach to the person. Even families can be guilty of this, e.g., talking about them as if they are not in the room, and this is particularly so when the person is acutely ill. As the person comes out of his psychosis it is important to encourage normal activities and normal conversations, so that the whole family can see the individual who is ill apart from the disorder. Some dreams may be lost due to illness, so it is important to build new, perhaps simpler dreams for the future.
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    A , Psychiatry, answered
    Symptoms of mania include the following:
    • Elevated mood
    • Scattered thoughts
    • Feelings of euphoria
    • Being overly friendly or outgoing
    • Racing thoughts
    • Agitation
    • Spending large amounts of money
    • Driving fast or dangerously
    • Inability to sit still
    • Unsafe sexual practices
    • Rapid, unpredictable emotional changes
    • Socially unacceptable behavior
    • Ignoring responsibilities
    • Feeling paranoid
    • Little need for food
    • Increased sociability
    • Verbal or physical aggression
    • Decreased need for sleep
    • Increase in activity
    • Inflated self-esteem
    • Irritability
    • Use of drugs or alcohol
    • Gambling
    • Increased sexual drive
    • Talking very fast
    • Inability to relax
    • Physically aching all over
    • Thrill seeking
    • Lack of control
    • Shoplifting
    • Excessive energy
    • Poor judgment
    • Confused thoughts
    • Seeing, hearing, or otherwise sensing things that aren't there
    If you think you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of mania, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible.
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