Join Access Local as we participate the annual NAMI Walk this year in 2018. Many people from all over come together to show their support for people with mental illness.
Doctors would treat a heart attack with immediate care. Most would not let their patient suffer silently and die. However, despite the fact that about half of all Americans will experience mental health issues, many will not get any help until they reach a critical state.
Conditions such as depression and bipolar disorders have early signs of warning but are often overlooked. Many mental health illnesses stem from childhood trauma that is left unchecked. Whether it may be abusive parents or just overloaded school workloads, adolescence is a prime time for mental health illness to take roots. This could lead people to develop serious illnesses that will stop them from being productive citizens of the world. It gets even worse when they see themselves as weak and do not get treatment. Most cases of suicide resulted from people suffering silently with their mental health condition. Fortunately, there is a developing culture that fosters acceptance about mental health illness.
“You have more of a connection to your peers than an adult and sometimes it’s more comfortable to talk to someone around your age.” says Andre Davis, a student from John F. Kennedy High School. Adolescences sometime can only talk to people around their age because they have no connection to an adult. There is a need to raise awareness about the early signs of incoming mental health illness.
May is the month of mental health awareness throughout America. During this time, there are widespread campaigns through social media in an attempt to get attention to the mental health crisis. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness emphasis on the fact that people do not suffer alone and they do not have to endure mental health conditions by themselves. Outreach programs encourage people to look for early warning signs before it’s too late. In fact, that was the goal for 2016 mental health awareness month, summarized in their slogan B4STAGE4.
Mental Health issues are one of the main contributing factors to suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in America. Heart attacks cannot be ignored, so why should mental health issues?
A parent might say that they know their kids very well. Perhaps some do, and perhaps some do not. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five young students between the age of thirteen and eighteen suffer from a mental health condition. The condition could be minor such as an anxiety disorder to highly damaging one such as major depression. This directly correlates to the fact that suicide is the third largest killer of young adults from the age of ten to twenty-four. Nine out of ten of the victims of suicide deteriorated from a mental health problem.
Sometimes a teenager who is at risk and depressed could be seen by their parent as acting moody. According to the Telegraph, the mark of depression and moodiness often overlapped during the developing teenage years. Parents might dismiss a serious health complication as a teen being a teen because of stereotypes. When these things happen, researches believe that young person is more likely to commit suicides.
“Over time, there is less support within the family,” says David Baine of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “However, communication skills about mental health never increase to accommodate that loss of family support.” People and organizations throughout Sacramento are trying to address these problems within their own communities. One such organization is the Youth Mental Health First Aid program which is aiming to train people to detect early sign of mental illness in teens and young adults. Their program offers free training to volunteers through federal grants which hope to offer relief for youth mental health problems. They have a “5-step action plan to help a young person developing a mental health problem or in crisis” which helps to de-escalate a crisis situation which involves teens with mental health problems with the risk of suicide. Upcoming mental health training dates can be found here.
Why are black and Hispanic young adults receiving about 50 percent of the mental health treatment resources that their white counterparts have? A recent study from the International Journal of Health Services completed research across all fifty states to reveal many facts about minority mental health problems.
For example, young adult Latinos and blacks are making fifty-eight and forty-seven percent less visits respectively to any mental health specialist when compared to white young adults. This is despite the fact that mental health problems between the black, latinos, and white communities are almost statistically equal. So why the discrepancy? One out of many explanations which researchers tout as a reason for the difference involves the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, many cultures don’t want to admit they have mental health issues or that it’s in their family, for fear of being ostracized by their community,” says David Bain, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Sacramento. “Typically, they keep the issue a secret and do their best to deal with the situation alone without help or information from outside the family unit.”
Hispanic parents have reported fewer mental health problems regarding their children, but the study reveals that families are underusing mental health treatment options. There are many reasons why they would abstain from mental health treatments, but as previously stated, Hispanic youths suffer as much mental health problem as white youths but are being disproportionately affected by it.
Another fact to consider is that very often white students receive counseling and therapy for behavioral issues while black students get excessive punishment instead such as suspension. The reason for this could range from institutional racism to cultural differences or the social economic status of the school. However, the facts remain, black students are suffering from the same mental health problems as whites but do not get the same luxury of treatment.
For more information about how you can deal with mental health illness, you can visit NAMI Sacramento. For the study, click here.