The Reality of Mental Illness: Meaning, Signs, Awareness and Possible Solution to the Menace

The present 21st century is characterized by a large number of mental illnesses topping among the social issues affecting all society. There have been cases and persistent rise in mental illness cases in the world today. Despite the increase in the social issue, some of us have not experienced such throughout our existence so far in life which cannot be truly tested as a fact. The lack of experience doesn’t dispute or erase the fact the problem has been on the rise in the past few years. Despite the increase, there is a lack of attention to discussions on the issue of mental illness and a lack of health policy that can help curb the spread of such problems in the society. There is always a need to find out the why of such issues before solutions can be proffered in such cases. Stigmatization is never and will never be a cure to the menace as most of those who are experiencing such right now have never been in such situation before.

Simply put, mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health disorders that may come up in different forms affecting the sanity or the thinking/reasoning ability of the affected individual. The condition affects one’s behavior, mood, and thinking. Some of the common examples of mental illness include depression, mental or anxiety disorders, addictive behavior, schizophrenia, and so on. The major difference between mental health concerns and mental illness is that the latter will always affect your ability to function properly. Some of the signs and symptoms of mental illness or disorder include feeling sad, lack of concentration, irrational thinking, excessive worries or fear, mood swings, low energy, inability to get asleep, delusions (detachment from reality), excessive addictions, suicidal thoughts or thinking, changes in sex drive, change in eating habits, inability to cope with problems.

It is important to note that mental illness dies not only take the form of insanity but also in form of schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and other diseases that has to do with mental health. Many of these are curable and can be prevented using the right approach. Some of the facts concerning mental health in the year 2020 were that one out of five American experience a mental health issue; one out of six young people experience a major depressive episode in their life; and one out of twenty people in America have once lived with one of the forms of mental illness. It is important to note that anyone is vulnerable to mental illness depending on the circumstances in which one finds himself or herself hence the myth that mental illness does not affect me should be erased from individual memories as it affects everyone.

Some risk factors that can put you at the risk of having a mental illness which includes a family history of mental illness, stressful life situations, chronic medical conditions, brain damage due to accidents, traumatic experiences, bad addictions, child abuse, and unhealthy relationships, etc. Mental illness is not restricted to a particular age as the problem can start at any age of exposure to the risk although most of the cases begin earlier in life. The effects of the disease can be long-lasting or temporary depending on the treatment adopted. Also, an individual can be exposed to one or more forms of mental illness at the same time.

Most cases of mental illness have not been related to genetics or family history but by research been largely attributed to stress which may be in large or small quantity faced during the daily life of an individual leading to destabilization of the individual’s behavior and mood. Looking at the issue of mental illness from the psychological, biological, or social perspective can go a long way in helping with the prevention of the social issue from rising. Paying adequate attention to both individual and societal mental health should be a core and integral part of our life. Everyone has a role to play in curbing and reducing the issue of mental illness through having open discussions and giving due acknowledgement to the existence of mental illness. Society and its constituents at large have a long way to go to find solution to the menace of the 21st century. There is a heavy need for an approach through early intervention, reduction of stigmatization, creation of secure connections between individuals and their environments, and also the adoption of participative interactions in all communities.

There is no sure or confirmed ways of treating mental illness. If you have any loved one with a mental health issue or mental illness, you should try and have both open/honest discussions about your concern over their mental health. Even if you can force him or her to get treated by a professional, your words of encouragement and support with no stigmatization attached will surely go a long way in helping them. Also, you can help find a professional who is good at handling mental health issues to attend to them and render all possible treatment and assistance towards him or her. Mental illness or conditions can get harder to treat if the symptoms are not treated urgently. Make sure you pay adequate attention to the early signs and work with a professional doctor or therapist towards finding the best treatment for such illness and also to prevent such situations or symptoms from relapsing in the future. 

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