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Mental Health: Why it’s hard to know what’s wrong


  How can you work on something when you don't know what's wrong?  Mental health conditions have many faces.  At some point, you or a loved one (family member, friends, co-worker, someone at school or a neighbor) might have felt like “something was wrong” but didn’t know what.  It could be something small are coming down with a cold, worrying about something that might happen and possibly mental health symptoms.  Many people suffer in silence so it’s very important you and/or a loved one learn more and uses the information – it can help you and others to get help for a better and hopefully happier life.

  One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point. Around 450 million people currently suffer from these conditions making mental disorders among the leading causes of health and disability in the word.  Stigma, discrimination and lack of self-care can prevent people with mental disorders from getting help according to World Health Organization (WHO).  There are many treatments available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a mental disorder never ask for help from a health care professional.  About 50% of adults in the United States who have bipolar disorder and over 40% of people with schizophrenia will be untreated. Only 43% of people with mental illness receive treatment overall per National Institute of Mental Health.  How can you and/or a loved one fix something if you don’t know it’s a problem?


  As you can see, there are many people with mental health condition(s) but it’s not diagnosed.  It’s not anybody fault – it’s like having any medical condition. Many people will be more understanding of other conditions such as heart disease, lupus, cancer, arthritis among other conditions. Mental health is a touchy subject and people are usually nervous about talking about it with other people.


  Why mental health conditions are not diagnosed or not treated: Often people don’t know what’s wrong. They hardly think it’s a mental health condition.   You and/or someone you care about might do things to self-medicate like not being social, drinking alcohol, smoke, drugs, gambling or some other way to feel better now and long-term. There are many mental health conditions but some common ones are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder.  It’s very difficult to know what’s going on unless you see someone who can diagnose you or someone you care to care about. This involves a health care professional. Getting more information and following up with a health care professional means you and/or someone you care about can get help, if it’s needed.


  Understanding the importance of asking for help: Get informed about mental wellness is important for all of us - you, someone you care about and the community. A lot of people have a hard time asking for help especially when they don’t know if they need it. Sometimes even if they need it, it’s very difficult to ask for help with these kinds of conditions for many reasons such as stereotypes about mental health, being judged, bullied, fear or a combination. If you’re unsure if you need and/or someone you care about needs it, it’s important to follow up with a health professional.  This could be a trusted family member, friend, co-worker, someone at school or another person. You can go to a local health/mental health clinic, urgent care center, mental health facility, school counselor, therapist, psychiatrist or emergency room. Health care professionals deal with mental health issues all the times so don’t feel like they won’t understand or help.  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!

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