May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but thoughts for this episode came well before that realization. The idea came upon reading an article which cited the Centers For Disease Control (CDC). In a recent report the CDC revealed that suicide rates are rising at an alarming pace. Between 1999 and 2014 the suicide rate went up 24 percent. Lisa Tindal, the Executive Director of Mental Health America of Aiken County, explains that there are two groups that are being impacted the most — middle aged men and middle school female students.
Right now Mental Health America is focusing on breaking down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illness. In order to do that, there needs to be importance placed on talking about mental health early and sharing what it feels like to live with a mental illness.Four areas, as shared by Mental Health America, are as follows:
- Having healthy relationships and getting on a path to good mental health begins with being able to talk about how you feel.
- Telling people how life with a mental illness feels helps build support from friends and family, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms, or are dealing what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of your recovery.
- People experience the symptoms of mental illness differently, and sharing how it really feels — throughout all the stages of an illness — can help others to understand if what they are going through my be a symptom of a mental health problem.
- Mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. We need to speak up early — before Stage 4 — and in real, relatable terms so that people do no feel isolated and out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.
If you, or someone you know, is possibly struggling with a mental illness or is considering suicide, you can contact Mental Health America of Aiken County at 803-641-4164 or through their website http://www.mha-aiken.org. You can also find help 24 hours a day through the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.