The number of people who suffer from mental illnesses is higher than what we expected. Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. They could be the people you take a cab with, your workmate, your neighbor, your friend or even your family member. However, only half of those affected receive treatment and if left untreated mental illnesses can lead to poor performance at work or school, higher medical expenses and even suicide.
The first step that you can do is to understand what exactly a mental illness is. A mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life.
There are two most common mental health conditions. The first one is anxiety disorders, it affects more than 18% of adults each year. It includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias. The second one is mood disorders which affect nearly 10% of adults each year. It includes depression and bipolar depression.
After understanding their situation, the question is what can you do to help?
Here are some wonderful tips you can do to help:
- Show individuals respect and acceptance. When they feel that you see them as an individual and not as their illness, it will make a big difference for them.
- Advocate within your circles of influence.
- Learn more about mental illness.
With these things said, may we all be aware of mental illness and help someone cope with their illness today.