How to Identify a Possible Mental Health Issue

By Roz Jones

It had been painstaking for some to identify the real deal behind mental health. Some may experience a glitch of being depressed or aggressive then go back to normalcy. While others show some behaviors that are quite odd and uncertain, which may indicate that there is a shifting of attitude in the person and can result in mental disorders.

Mental health providers are capable of distinguishing the difference between being mentally healthy and mentally ill. They diagnose based on symptoms that the client may or may not manifest when going through the evaluation process. There are a lot of approaches and here are some:

1. One’s own perception

Here, you have to assess yourself internally. Are you having morbid thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself or others? Your behaviors, thoughts, and functioning can determine if you are mentally healthy or mentally ill. If there is a sudden shift in your daily habits and routines which you used to enjoy, then there might be something wrong.

In severe cases of mental illness, people can go on with their lives without doing chores or even bathing themselves. Therefore, it is important to assess yourself. If you can no longer pinpoint what is wrong, it may be time to seek professional help.

2. Other people’s perception

It is important to rely on those you trust for opinions on changes in your behavior. People around you may be the best source for an objective opinion. You may see yourself to be perfectly fine while others may disagree. Schizophrenia is one very good example of this, wherein a person may admit seeing or hearing things where in fact nothing’s there.

3. Ethnic and cultural norms

Oftentimes, a person’s normalcy is defined by their culture. Because people are living within different boundaries and cultures, what is normal for others may not seem normal for you. For example, when a person hears or sees things that others cannot, some people may call this insanity, but for some religions, this is normal and is a sort of divine intervention. Culture within the family may also affect the way you see others. What you normally do within your home may not be the same as others.

4. Based on statistical numeric

“Within the range” –a term often used to describe normalcy. Generally, the average or range defines what is normal. However, statistics can change. For instance if they go higher or lower, the range of normalcy shifts.

The information above is not meant to be used as a tool to diagnose yourself or others with a mental health disorder. However, it can be used as a gauge for when to seek medical help for yourself or your loved one.

When Anxiety Strikes

By Roz Jones

Panic attacks can be the bane of your existence, and can make caring for a loved one or even living your daily life,  extremely daunting. Never knowing when – or why – an attack can hit makes life unpredictable. Searching for a way to control your anxiety is a natural step to take. 

Most anxiety attacks come on suddenly – however, there are usually warning signs. It may only be a few seconds’ warning, but if we try to identify the signs, we may be able to lessen our symptoms. Some people experience chest tightening, lightheadedness, or shaking – all are the immediate signs of a rush of adrenaline. Adrenaline is one of the main identifiable reasons for an anxiety attack.  

As soon as you feel an attack beginning to develop, stop what you are doing. If you’re driving, pull over. If you’re standing or walking, sit down. As the attack begins to flower, take slow, steady breaths. Breathe in for five seconds, and out for five seconds. One of the main things people do when they are experiencing an anxiety attack is to breathe in short, sharp gasps; by slowing and focusing on your breathing, you are distracting your mind and resetting the scales. 

Keep breathing in this fashion. If necessary, close your eyes and tilt your head back so you have a clear throat passage for air to move through. You may also find some form of self-comforting useful; try rubbing the side of your wrist with a fingertip. Remain calm, focus on your breathing and rest until the feeling has passed.

See a Resource, Share a Resource

By Roz Jones

In honor of mental health awareness month, I wanted to challenge my network of caregivers and medical professionals to share these life saving mental health resources listed below. Each time you see a mental health resource, share a mental health resource!

Don’t forget to tag us on social media when you share your resources!

#seearesourcesharearesouce #mentalhealthawarenessmonth

  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text HOME to 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • (800) 273-8255
  • The NAMI Helpline
    • (800) 950-NAMI
  • Postpartum Support Intl.
    • (800) 944-4773
  • National Hopeline Network
    • (800) 442-4673
  • Veterans Crisis Line
    • (800) 273-8255 and Press 1
  • Disaster Distress Helpline
    • Text MHA to 741741
  • US National Suicide Prevention Hotline
    • (800) 273-8255

Breaking the Social Stigma

By Roz Jones

Anxiety disorders are being diagnosed at an increasing rate, and the seriousness of such illnesses is slowly, but surely, being accepted by more people. Such is the novelty of this situation that there are still a number of people who consider such disorders to simply be part of life turned into an illness for the sake of keeping people in a job. Although these people are becoming fewer in number, they still exist in enough places to make anxiety disorders somewhat stigmatized. As caregivers, we must stand up to this stigma and share our truth.

There are two major paths of thought which ridicule the conditions described as “anxiety disorders”. The first attacks the very legitimacy of such conditions, saying that, as they were not diagnosed 20, 50 or 100 years ago, they must be the inventions of the psychiatric trade. The second paints sufferers as being “insane” or “mental”. The latter may be the worse of the two, because it takes an unsophisticated view of certain conditions and applies it to all mental illnesses. 

In general, people with anxiety disorders do notwalk around in an unhinged trance muttering to themselves, attack passers by, or attempt suicide at the drop of a hat. They write bestselling novels, fix cars, win Nobel prizes, attend parties, and are even caregivers like us. There is a lot of work to do in order to remind people that this is the case – but it does seem that the tide of momentum is with the sufferers and their advocates.  

My fellow caregivers, it is important to be able to speak with courage and without shame about an anxiety disorder. By doing so you can show people that you are “perfectly normal,” whatever that means.  I know, it should not be necessary, but some people still have to be reminded.