Too many people are suffering with mental health issues and not getting the help they need. They are afraid of being judged. They may feel ashamed. They may feel that nothing will really help. But that just isn’t true. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are opening the conversation. Be open to learning and reaching out for help.
Mental health is an ideal we strive for. It is a balance of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Caring relationships, a place to call home, a supportive community, work and leisure all contribute to mental health. But no one’s life is perfect, so mental health challenges will be experienced by everyone. And learning coping skills to manage the ups and downs of life is something we all need to do.
Mental illness is different than mental health. It is more serious. It is a disturbance in your thoughts, perceptions and emotions that affect your ability to think make decisions and function on a day-to-day basis. There are degrees of mental illness, varying from mild to severe. They all require assessment and treatment.
Types of Mental Illness
Anxiety Disorders – anxiety comes in many forms including generalized anxiety, panic attack, phobias, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), post-traumatic stress disorders or eating disorders
Depression – creates intense feelings of sadness and worthless, so much so that you lose interest in life
Bipolar Disorder – involves cycles of feeling intensely happy and invisible followed by depression
Schizophrenia – seeing or hearing things that are not there or holding firm beliefs that make no sense to anyone else but you
Personality Disorders – there are a variety of personality disorder and they all involve some form of difficulty with relationships, poor judgement and decision making, lack of regard for others and the inability to manage emotions.
There is a strong correlation between substance abuse and mental illness. Turning to a substance can be a strategy for managing the challenges associated with mental health issues. Substances serve as an effective tool to numb and escape, however, a host of other challenges are created making life even more difficult to manage.
Did you know – the leading cause of disability in Canada is mental illness?
The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Mood Disorders Society of Canada reports the following statistics:
- Chances of having a mental illness in your lifetime in Canada: 1 in 5
- Chances of having a mental illness or a substance use disorder in your lifetime in Canada: 1 in 3
- Percentage of young people, aged 15-24 who report a mental health illness or substance abuse problem: 18%
- Chances of experiencing or having a mental illness by the time you reach the age of 40: 1 in 2.
- The percentage of people experiencing a major depression who do not receive adequate care: 50%
- The number of people in Canada who die by suicide per year: 4000 or almost 11 people per day
- Percentage of Canadians 12 years old or older who reported poor mental health: 6%
- Percentage of Canadians 12 years old and older who had talked to a health professional in the past 12 months: 1.4%. Of those, 2/3 were female
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague
- Mental illness doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone
Be Open – Get Help
If you suffer from a mental illness or mental health issue – it is not your fault. You are not to blame. Mental illness is created by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environment factors. You deserve to receive treatment. Be open. Talk to your doctor, family or therapist. Treatment options are available to help you live a more satisfying life. Medication, therapy, support groups, diet, exercise, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and other adjunct therapies are available.
by Mary Joan Brinson MSW, RSW
We offer a FREE Consultation to those new to The Relationship Centre. Call us at 613-848-3683 for more information. We are here to support your mental health recovery.