May Is Mental Health Month: Dealing With “Risky Business”

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NEW YORK, May 2: When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it can be a lot to handle.

It is important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently – and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month – Risky Business – is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path to crisis.

Mental Health America and Community Mental Health Center, Inc., Lawrenceburg, encourage you to learn about “Risky Business.” Mental Health Month calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health. According to Mental Health America, mental health is integral to overall health. People need to care for their mental health so they can respond to the stress of daily life and the challenges it presents. This Mental Health Month, MHA and CMHC encourage everyone to learn about steps they can take to protect their mental health and to learn about risky behaviors that may be indications of mental health problems.

“It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and to know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more serious,” said CMHC Executive Director Tom Talbot.
“We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness, and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way. We encourage people to be aware of and learn about these risky behaviors and activities,” said Talbot.

May is Mental Health Month was started 68 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. CMHC and Mental Health America encourage people to speak up about how it feels to live with a mental illness and to realize the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understanding what mental illness is and isn’t, and where to get help when needed. Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose years in which we could intervene to change people’s lives for the better.

“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” said Tom Talbot. “When we engage in prevention and early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early, and provide effective treatment Before Stage 4.”

The stages of mental health conditions are similar to those for medical conditions. Stage 1 involves mild symptoms and warning signs, a stage at which an individual continues to be able to maintain functions at home, work or school. In Stage 2, symptoms increase in frequency and severity and begin to interfere with life activities and life roles. Symptoms continue to worsen in Stage 3, with relapses and recurring episodes accompanied by serious disruptions in life activities and life roles. In Stage 4, symptoms have become severe and persistent and likely have jeopardized an individual’s life.

About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder sometime in their lives, with first onset typically occurring in childhood or adolescence. Most people will have supports that allow them to succeed – home, family, friends, school, and work. Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and put individuals living with mental illnesses on the path to recovery.

CMHC uses a network of facilities in Batesville, Brookville, Lawrenceburg, St. Leon and Vevay to provide services in the region. The Center offers an array of services – from outpatient counseling to inpatient services to community and school-based services to housing services for individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses – throughout this network. CMHC employs professional staff, from case managers to psychiatrists, to provide these services.

If you, or a friend or a neighbor, are dealing with depression, anger, stress, substance abuse or addiction, grief, or another mental health issue, please contact CMHC, Inc., at (812) 537-1302, or visit our website at www.cmhcinc.org to find an office near you. Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (812) 537-1302, or toll-free at 1-877-849-1248.

All CMHC services are provided without regard to race, religion, disability, gender, color, age, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political belief, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

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