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Change Your Mentality

Mental illness and disorders is something that many people believe does not directly affect them and that is very rare for someone to be living with a mental illness. Facts show this is far from the truth. This is a disease that cause a disturbance in behavior and health in an individual life that makes it very difficult for one to handle life’s routine. Over 54 million Americans are dealing with a mental illness within a given year and there are more than 200 forms of mental illness including depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. People of all ages have shown evidence of mental disorders but it’s most prevalent in middle-aged adults, ages 26-49. Young adults, age 18-25, are the most diagnosed cases each year. Odds are, you most likely know someone who has some sort of mental illness. All races are also affected by mental illness as 18% of African-Americans, 16% of Hispanics and 13% of Asians makeup the overall percentage of Americans with a mental illness. Minority communities sometime live in taboo over the discussion of mental health and the idea is often ignored and not talked about. It’s time to change your perspective on mental illness and know you and those around you are not immune to mental health. Instead of ignoring the issues, learn the facts and become prepared to deal with whatever life may throw your way.

Triggers For everyone, each day is different day and you never know what you will be faced with. We run into many situations that are nearly impossible to prepare for and nearly all stressful events will affect us mentally. Events to look out for in your life or a loved one’s life that may cause mental anguish include the following: • Job loss • Home loss • Divorce • Bullying • Sudden trauma or attacks • Everyday stress • Death of loved one

Warning Signs and Symptoms Taking note in behavioral changes in yourself or a loved one is key to early detection. Changes can be subtle, but most are blatantly noticeable especially if you are in frequent contact with someone. A few signs to be aware of. • Confusion • Extreme Highs and Lows • Social withdrawal • Excessive worrying, fear or anxiety • Delusional, hallucinations, or paranoia • Substance abuse • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits • Suicidal thoughts

Prevention There is no sure way to completely prevent a mental disorder but there are measures you can take to being on the right track. Following certain routines will help you be able to cope with changes and have an outlet for stress. Engaging in any of the tips below will lower your risk of severe mental disorders. • Routine medical care and check-ups • Rest and sleep • Nutritious diet and proper eating • Adequate amount of exercise • Socializing and talking with loved ones • Seek immediate attention after stressful events • Avoiding situations/environments that may bring unwanted stress

Our mental and behavioral health is often determined by genes and our environment, mostly situations that we have no control over. When you feel the pressure of life bearing down on you, seek immediate counseling or professional help. While we cannot predict or control what happens to us, we can take preventative measures to better cope with any mental disorder and better maintain our mental health.

-Taelor Smith

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