World Mental Health Day will soon be upon us. That day, celebrated on October 10th, is meant to help to raise the profile of the importance of mental health awareness. It is a vitally important day, not only for people who suffer from mental illness but for the extended world community as a whole.
Mental illness remains a monstrous and growing challenge within our society, and days that can help to raise the importance of mental health awareness are more vital than ever. Unfortunately, these issues have become even more timely with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
What Is World Mental Health Day, and Why is it Important?
World Mental Health Day is an international holiday. It was created by the World Health Organization as part of an effort to raise the importance of mental health awareness and help people be better positioned to address their mental health demons and those of their loved ones.
International Mental Health Day was first established in 1992 as part of the World Federation for Mental Health. The day was designed to not only increase the international importance of mental health awareness but to break the massive stigma that surrounds mental health issues and encourage people to seek treatment for their major illnesses. The day also sought to ensure that the public had a better understanding of mental health.
As time passed, International Mental Health Day began to develop specific themes. For example, last year’s International Mental Health Day focused specifically on suicide prevention. This is tragically necessary, as ample evidence indicates that suicide has become a runaway problem across the entire world. For example, suicide numbers continue to rise in the United States, with suicide now becoming the 10th leading cause of death in the country.
The terrible burden of mental illness, including issues like drug and alcohol addiction, kills millions across the world on an annual basis. At the same time, it sucks trillions from the world economy. Thankfully, as a result of efforts like International Mental Health Day, more people have become aware of the various challenges that mental illness presents. This has helped to change the perception of mental illness throughout the world.
The stigma that surrounds mental health and mental illness remains a serious public policy and health problem, one that is felt deeply by millions of people – if not billions. This stigma comes in many forms. Unfortunately, many in society still hold a backward view that mental illness is something that can simply be waved or prayed away. This is categorically false. Mental illness is every bit as real as physical diseases like cancer or arthritis and should be treated as such.
Mental health stigma exists in many forms, including self-stigma, which is the negative belief that many people who suffer from mental illness endure. Sadly, this belief keeps people from recognizing their mental illnesses and seeking the treatment they deserve.
There are many ways for you to observe International Mental Health Day, some big, some small. These include:
- Sharing information about mental illness on your social media profiles
- Contributing to a mental health charity
- Talking about your history with mental illness
- Using the holiday as an excuse to express concern for a loved one and encourage them to seek treatment
How World Mental Health Day is More Important Than Ever
The ugly truth is that COVID-19 has exacerbated all existing mental health and addiction challenges in the United States, thus making it more important than ever that we discuss the importance of mental health awareness and ensure that we are doing everything we can to get the mentally ill the treatment they need.
Prevalence of Mental Illness
According to a recent study conducted by Boston University, the amount of adults who have screened positive for depression has tripled since the start of the pandemic.
For individuals on the lower end of the income spectrum being far more likely to suffer from depression as a result of the economic strain placed on them and their families. This study further proves an ugly truth about mental illness and addiction: co-occurring mental illness is as prevalent as ever before, with those on the lower end of the socioeconomic totem pole suffering the most. These are not hyperbolic statements. Unfortunately, they are born out of numerous studies.
Furthermore, similar issues exist when it comes to substance abuse and addiction, with studies noting that the rate of addiction and substance abuse problems have increased as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also made it harder than ever for people to get the help they need, thus further exacerbating these major problems.
Mental Health Facts in California and the United States
Unfortunately, mental illness remains a huge challenge within the United States. According to available information, mental illness is a growing problem:
- 44 million Americans actively suffer from some sort of mental illness – meaning about one in five American adults is mentally ill at any given moment.
- Rates of all sorts of mental illness, including depression, addiction, and general anxiety disorders are all rising.
- Suicide is a huge problem in the United States, with more than 48,000 Americans dying by suicide in 2018. Unfortunately, that number continues to increase.
- Suicide rates are rising across all demographics. Unfortunately, the gap between people of color and whites in America is also closing as more people of color die by suicide.
These numbers are bad across the entire United States, but are particularly bad in California:
- According to estimates, mental illness is increasing in California. Those increases are particularly acute among children and teenagers.
- By the time they enter the 11th grade, half of all California students have tried alcohol, with another 40% having tried marijuana.
- Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in California, with 4,491 people dying by this method in 2018.
Signs & Symptoms of Mental Illness
There are many signs and symptoms of mental illness and addiction. These include:
- Withdrawal from social settings
- No longer engaging in activities that were previously loved
- Outward expressions of sadness or depression
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Secretive behavior
- Sudden fascinating with harm or self-harm, including expressing a desire to end one’s own life
- Unexplained physical changes
Addiction and Mental Illness
It is important to realize that mental illness comes in many forms. One such example is addiction. Addiction is unquestionably a mental illness. It is considered this because a person often experiences a variety of psychological disorders – such as depression or trauma – that may lead them to become dependent upon alcohol, illegal drugs, or any sort of medication. People often view these substances as a way to escape their lives.
Many addictions require physical or pharmacological treatment as part of any recovery plans. However, addiction treatment without some form of psychological counseling is very rare, as this type of treatment can help people make necessary lifestyle changes, adjust their ways of thinking, and find the root of their addiction. As such, addiction is considered by most experts to be both a mental illness and a disease, and it is treated as such.
Treatment Options for Dual Diagnosis
A dual diagnosis means that someone is simultaneously suffering from two sorts of mental illnesses: In this case, an issue like depression or anxiety, and a substance use disorder. These problems can be particularly difficult to treat, as any treatment plan must simultaneously address both diseases. Thankfully, this can be done.
There are many methods of treating both of these mental illnesses. These include:
Medication-Assisted Detox (MAT) or detox for short, is the actual process by which someone purges their body of a foreign substance, like drugs or alcohol. This is necessary, as a treatment for addiction or substance abuse cannot begin until someone is “clean.” This is often a physical, comprehensive program that requires time, medication, and psychological treatment.
A residential treatment program means that someone will live at a treatment facility for a set period of time. During this time, they will be under 24/7 care for their addictions, and they will engage in a wide range of therapies led by trained counselors.
This type of therapy involves a combination of a variety of therapies. It may also involve closely monitored medication-assisted treatment. Residential treatment is typically necessary for someone who has a more severe issue, a dual diagnosis, or who has unsuccessfully attempted to treat addictions in the past.
Sometimes, the issues that someone suffers from are not so significant that it requires a lengthy residential stay. In these cases, a person can be treated in an outpatient manner. This means that they report to a treatment facility for regular treatments, including individual therapy, group therapy, medication, lifestyle counseling, and more. However, at the end of the day, they return to their own homes and live there. This type of treatment may not be appropriate for more severe cases, and particularly for those who present a risk to themselves or others. However, if possible, it is often preferable, as someone may be more responsive to treatment if they are in their own home.
LA Detox Can Help Manage Mental Illness Effectively
If you or someone you know is looking for a treatment center in Los Angeles, please contact us today. We are among the best treatment centers in Los Angeles and can help you comprehensively address your mental illness and addiction issues. Please remember: Our professionals are here to help you overcome your addictions and lead the life you deserve.