Care for Mental Health

Amanda McNatt, Staff Writer/ Feature Editor

According to Youngminds, 1 in 10 people aged 5 to 16 have a diagnosable mental health disorder, but some remain untreated because they are unaware or have not told others about it.
Being able to recognize a mental illness is the first step to getting better and feeling more comfortable in everyday life. According the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), there are many warning signs to help someone recognize that they may have a mental illness.
NAMI’s website lists a variety of symptoms that indicate mental illness including excessive worry, fear, or sadness, long periods of anger and irritability, avoiding social interaction, substance abuse, difficulty perceiving reality, physical ailments such as headaches and thoughts of suicide.
Once someone realizes they identify with these symptoms, NAMI recommends reaching out to friends and family is important. Having a loving and supporting group to stick with someone with mental illness in most instances, but not all, helps the subject deal with their obstacles better and makes the process of healing much easier.
There are many ways specialists recommend to go about telling people, but organizations like NAMI and the Mental Health Foundation suggest that the person go somewhere they feel comfortable. Easing the person into the idea that one suffers from a mental illness is important, being too blunt can cause the person to overreact. One way to do this is telling them first that it’s something important and then telling them about the illness.
In addition to alerting loved ones of one’s suspected illness, the next step is talking to a doctor. NAMI recommends going to a regular physician first to make sure the symptoms have not stemmed from a physical illness. If the problem is not one of the body, ask for a referral to a psychologist.
From this point on, decisions about therapy and medication can be made. People have various opinions and preferences on these treatment forms based on religious or moral views. According to Plano Senior counselor Junie Jones no one should feel ashamed about needing to take medication or therapy. She finds that there is a stigma within students that they should be able to handle mental issues themselves when in reality it’s more important to take care of their problems.
With or without treatment, sometimes people can hit low points due to their illnesses. If someone ever feels like they may harm themselves or others they can contact Lifeline. This service gives free, 24 hour, confidential support for people in distress and their number is 1-800-273-8255.
The University of Michigan’s mental health website,, explains that while it’s important to take care of one’s own mental health, it’s just as important to make sure friends are okay. NAMI elaborates that if anyone notices a friend begin to do things like avoiding social interaction, self-harming, or taking dangerous risks, it’s important to talk to them about it.
Confronting a friend about their behavior can be disorienting, so NAMI recommends the use of ‘I’ sentences instead of ‘you’ ones and, with the friends permission, telling someone who will understand the situation. If it is an emergency, though, don’t be afraid to tell an authority figure or even the police.
Jones thinks getting help for damaged mental health is vital for survival. Even if, at this point, someone only feels comfortable confiding in one person, they should do so.