This May is Mental Health Month
Addressing Mental Health #B4Stage4
Addressing mental health before Stage 4—this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—calls attention to the importance addressing mental health symptoms early, identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. Mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process—efore Stage 4.
“When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them,” said Paul E. Keck, Jr., MD, President and CEO of Lindner Center of HOPE. “We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
“This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging everyone to learn the signs, ask for help if needed, address symptoms early, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.”
One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a mental health screening. Mental Health America has online screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder at mhascreening.org. MHA’s goal is to get every American screened and aware of their mental health, so they can address it #B4Stage4.
MHA has also developed a series of fact sheets available on its website (www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may) on realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness and how and where to get help when needed.
May is Mental Health Month was started 66 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.
“When feelings and emotions get overwhelming, it’s hard to know what to do,” Dr. Keck said. “Sometimes, these early symptoms might not ever become serious. Like a cough, they often go away on their own, and are nothing to fear. But sometimes, they are a sign of something more severe and shouldn’t be ignored. Taking a screening is the first step to protect your mental health, and addressing mental illness before Stage 4.”
Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During most of these years most people still 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 change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses.
“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Dr. Keck. “When you address symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.”
For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.