Mental Health Awareness Month: What to Know
Nearly 20 percent of all adults in the United States experience mental illness at some point in their lives. Stress, depression, anxiety all can interfere with the routine tasks of everyday life. Here’s what you need to know.
Depression: the interaction between genetic predisposition and life history appears to determine a person’s level of risk. Effective treatment for depression is vital. If five or more of these symptoms are present every day for at least two weeks and interfere with routine daily activities such as work, self-care, child care or social life, seek an evaluation. Symptoms include:
- A persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early morning awakening, oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
Stress: the body’s biological response to any demand. Increased heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and a narrowed perceptual focus can all result from stress. Everyone has certain stress-causing “triggers,” but there are coping strategies.
- Talk with family, friends, clergy or other trusted advisers about concerns and stressors. Ask for their support.
- Prioritize a set sleep schedule.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes five servings of vegetables and fruit.
- Do not overeat. Be aware of whether you are eating because of stress, if you are hungry or if your body needs food for fuel.
- Set realistic short-term goals to achieve longer-term goals. Take one step at a time.
Anxiety: feelings of intense fear and distress that become overwhelming and prevent the occurrence of everyday activities. Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions that each show unique symptoms. Common symptoms include persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. Additional symptoms:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Feeling tense or jumpy
- Restlessness or irritability
- Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
- Pounding or racing heart, shortness of breath
- Sweating, tremors and twitches
- Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
- Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to seek help and schedule an appointment with a provider. Memorial Behavioral Health offers clinics in four central Illinois communities as well as telehealth options.
340 W. State St. | 217–245–6126
515 N. College St. | 217–735–2272
710 N. Eighth St. | 217–525–1064
303 Bidwell St. | 217–525–1064
Memorial Emotional Support Line
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. 217–588–5509
This free, confidential hotline is staffed by behavioral health clinicians and available to anyone experiencing anxiety, depression or other behavioral health concerns.