- By Dana Sparks
Today is World Mental Health Day
Mental Illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.
Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function.
A mental illness can make you miserable and can cause problems in your daily life, such as at school or work or in relationships. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with a combination of medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).
Understanding what's considered normal mental health can be tricky. See how feelings, thoughts and behaviors determine mental health and how to recognize if you or a loved one needs help.
When terrible things happen in our communities, we can reach out a helping hand to those who are affected. Perhaps you find yourself at the scene of an accident where people are hurt. Perhaps you are a health-care worker or teacher talking with someone from your community who has just witnessed the violent death of a loved one. Perhaps you are called upon as a staff member in a disaster or volunteer to help asylum seekers who have recently arrived in your community. Learning the basic principles of psychological first aid will help you to provide support to people who are very distressed, and, importantly, to know what not to say.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October, covers “psychological first aid”. Efforts in support of the day will focus on basic pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in a helping role whether they be health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers.
Despite its name, psychological first aid covers both psychological and social support. Just like general health care never consists of physical first aid alone, similarly no mental health care system should consist of psychological first aid alone. Indeed, the investment in psychological first aid is part of a longer-term effort to ensure that anyone in acute distress due to a crisis is able to receive basic support, and that those who need more than psychological first aid will receive additional advanced support from health, mental health and social services.
Related posts about mental health issues on the Mayo Clinic News Network:
- Mayo Clinic Minute: Postpartum Depression — More Than the Baby Blues
- Depression — Let's Snap Out Of Expecting People to Snap Out Of It
- Anxiety Disorders — Just in Your Head?
- Help! I Think My Teenager Might be Cutting
- Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness
- Mayo Clinic Q and A: Rapid Mood Changes Normal For Teens
- Mayo Clinic Q and A: Risk for Depression After Traumatic Brain Injury
- Mayo Clinic Q and A: Year-round treatment for SAD recommended in some cases
- Ruth Nearly Lost Her Life to Depression