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Mental health matters: take care yourself, take care of your kids

By May 7, 2015December 17th, 2015Blog

Mental health – no one is immune

You can’t get through this month – particularly if you are reading blogs such as Spurwink’s – and avoid news about mental health.  Your family’s mental health. Your children’s mental health.  Your friends’ and neighbors’ mental health.  The human race’s mental health.  We all know someone who suffers from a mental health disorder.

It may even be you.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.  And today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. But despite well-intentioned efforts, the need for awareness remains great.

The statistics are staggering:

  • Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in children and teens ages 12-17 in 2010.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13-20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year.

This is serious. Youth are the future, and if we remain complacent about mental health, the future will be bleak.

Thankfully, early intervention can help reduce mental health problems later in life. Mental Health America offers a simple-yet-powerful antidote to the mental health predicament we find ourselves in: Get informed. Get screened. Get help.

Get informed.  

Mental Health America* describes 4 stages of Mental Health Conditions:

  • Stage 1 – mild symptoms and warning signs
  • Stage 2 – moderate symptoms that begin to interfere with one’s life’s activities and roles
  • Stage 3 – serious disruptions in life
  • Stage 4 – severe symptoms that jeopardize one’s life

Recognizing or admitting these stages can be difficult. If you think you or someone you know is in one of these stages, the next step toward healthy living is to get screened.

Get screened. 

Getting screened isn’t too tough, once you decide you want to know more about your health.  Spurwink offers many services that can be accessed through a single call to (207) 871-1200.  You can also call 211, a three-digit telephone number useful anywhere in the U.S., for quick and easy access to information about health and human services in your local area.  You can find an agency or a counselor to discuss your mental health concerns.

Get help. 

If you suffer from mental health challenges, you are not alone. There is hope. SAMHSA (our national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) states that “Mental health is essential to health, prevention works, and treatment is effective. People recover.” The President of the United states echoes this message loud and clear: “too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence, rather than seeking help.”

Do not suffer in silence.  Treat mental health issues like you do a broken arm or high blood pressure.

Get help – it’s a sign of strength.

Take care of yourself. Take care of your kids.

Taking care of ourselves means we can take care of others.  If we are not mentally healthy, how can we function adequately with our significant others?  In the workplace?  How can we properly raise our children?  With untreated symptoms that cause us mental distress, how can we be the productive, contributing members in our communities that we want to be?

We all feel emotions.  We are all in some kind of relationships with human beings daily.  We have all cried, been angry, and felt unsupported.  My wish is for all for us is to be aware of the level of distress we experience and take care of ourselves.

Get informed. Get screened. Get help.

And let’s all take care of the mental health of the youth in our lives.

*Here are some helpful infographics and resources from Mental Health America that can better your understanding and awareness of mental health issues and treatment.

Linda S. Butler, Ph.D., LCSW | Director of Research & Outcomes 

David Walter D.O. | Medical Director