According to Mental Health America, about one-half of all Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for the majority of people. The organization also reports that the average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and For All Seasons wants the public to know that it is never too early or too late to seek treatment for your mental health. Mental health is an essential part of overall health. The agency continues to partner with area businesses, schools, government agencies, healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations, and citizens to promote mental wellness and support prevention efforts. Intervening effectively during the early stages can save lives and is critically important for people living with mental health conditions.
One of the questions a lot of people ask when it comes to their mental health is: can you have times of poor mental health without having a diagnosable condition? The answer is yes. Just like our physical health where you can be generally physically unhealthy without having a particular illness, we can have tough days and weeks when we struggle with our mental health. To be diagnosed with a mental health condition, the changes in your thinking and emotions must be seriously hurting your ability to do the things you want to do; and staying longer than they should – weeks or months, depending on the condition.
Mental Health America says that some risk factors for mental health conditions include: trauma, which can be a one-time event or ongoing; your environment and how it impacts your health and quality of life (also known as social determinants of health like financial stability and health care access); genetics; brain chemistry; and your habits and lifestyle such as a lack of sleep. Taking time to examine feelings and behaviors to see if they are part of a pattern caused by a mental health condition, can be the first step in deciding if you need an assessment by a mental health professional.
Some possible questions to ask yourself are:
- Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?
- Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard?
- Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel irritated, possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about?
If you feel the answer to a number of these questions is yes, you may want to talk with your physician or call a mental health professional to receive the help that you need. You are not alone.
Another way to have a positive impact on your mental health, as well as someone else’s, is to do something that makes you smile. For All Seasons is inviting the community to join the agency this May to spread joy through its Spread Joy Confetti Challenge! To pick up your confetti packet or to share your video of participating in the Spread Joy Confetti Challenge! contact: For All Seasons Marketing and Outreach Associate, Jon Qvarnstrom at [email protected]. Videos will be shared throughout the month on the For All Seasons Facebook, and Instagram pages – @forallseasonsinc.
For All Seasons professionals are available 24/7. Call 410- 822-1018 or on our 24-hour confidential crisis hotlines English: 410-820-5600, Español: 410-829-6143, English or Español text: 410-829-6143.