In any given community, there are a variety of mental health illnesses that go unaddressed. This can be for several reasons: illness severity, lack of insurance or access to care, fear or stigma surrounding mental health treatment, etc. However, it is important to bring awareness to these illnesses to de-stigmatize mental health treatment and break down barriers to care. Here are some mental health illnesses that need to be addressed in the community. Each of these illnesses significantly impacts the lives of those suffering.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness, affecting 6.8 million adults in the United States or 3.1% of the population. Symptoms of anxiety disorders can include the following:
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Stomachaches or any unexplained pains
- Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep)
Different triggers, such as stressful events, trauma, genetics, and environmental factors, can cause anxiety. Treatment options can include therapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy) and medication. You can also help yourself cope with anxiety by using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, exercise, and meditation. You can also focus on creating healthy sleep habits, maintaining a healthy diet, and learning interpersonal skills for dealing with difficult people and situations.
Depression is a severe medical illness that changes your mood, thinking, and behavior for the worst. It can also result in physical problems. Symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia or oversleeping)
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
The treatment for depression typically includes medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If you are struggling with depression, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You can find help from mental health professionals, support groups, community resources, or online therapy. However, the most important thing is to reach out and find help, especially if you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings, including high (mania) and low (depression) periods. It can be a life-long mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe and include:
- Rapid changes in mood
- Extreme highs (mania) or lows (depression)
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Racing thoughts and speech
- Impulsive behaviors
- Thoughts of suicide
Treatment for bipolar disorder typically includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. It is important to seek help from a mental health professional if you show signs of bipolar disorder, as it can be difficult to manage alone. Additionally, support from family and friends can be incredibly helpful when managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Sex addiction is a compulsive need to be sexually stimulated that interferes with daily life. People who struggle with sex addiction have an uncontrollable urge to engage in sexual activities, despite the potential physical and mental health risks. Signs of sex addiction can include:
- Uncontrollable urge to seek out sexual experiences
- Obsessing over thoughts of sex
- Excessive viewing of pornography
- Multiple affairs or sexual relationships
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex
Treatment for sex addiction typically involves therapy and support groups. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that can help treat this disorder. Additionally, sexual addiction treatment services can provide support and resources for individuals seeking help. They can provide advice and support to help individuals better manage compulsive sexual behavior. This also involves learning how to cope with triggers, such as stress and emotional distress, that can lead to addictive behaviors. Remember that sexual addiction is a compulsive disorder with serious personal consequences like drug or alcohol addiction. It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling.
How Can the Community Help
The community plays a big role in helping those struggling with mental health conditions. Here are some tips on how to address mental health issues in your community:
Promote Awareness and Education
This can be done through events, workshops, or casual conversation. Increasing awareness can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and get people talking about their experiences and feelings. Education is also key in teaching people how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness so that they can get the help they need.
Create a Support System
Creating a support system for those dealing with mental health issues is important. This could involve connecting people with resources like counseling or therapy, starting a support group, or simply being someone to who someone can talk. Having a support system in place can make all the difference in helping someone manage their mental health.
Advocate for Change
Another way to address mental health issues in the community is to advocate for change. This could mean improving access to mental health services, changing policies that discriminate against those with mental illness, or raising money for research and programs that help those affected. By advocating for change, you can help create a more inclusive and supportive community for everyone.
Every community needs to address these four examples of mental health illnesses. It’s important to remember that mental health should be taken seriously and discussed more openly. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out for help because there are people who care about you and want to help however they can.