Accessing mental health support is the largest block of mental self-care. Did you know that in a given year, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue? By the time we reach the age of 40, almost 1 in 2 of us will have suffered a period of mental illness. Nearly one-half of those who suffer from depression or anxiety have not seen a doctor to seek help. Yet, mental illness can be treated successfully.
Sufferers fear shame, disapproval, or discrimination from others. Mental illness is not due to a weak mind. Nor does mental illness improve with time. Mental illness impairs your ability to perform daily functions. In many cases, delaying treatment may lead to poor life outcomes or premature death due to suicide.
Awareness is increasing, but why do we still hesitate to seek treatment? Since most will suffer an episode of mental illness in our lifetime, arming yourself with how to seek support and how to give support should be must-knows.
Seeking support should start as soon as you feel “off” and it changes engagement or enjoyment of your daily activities for an extended time. Just talking about it with someone you can trust, is a good start. The next step is to seek an assessment from a health practitioner such as your doctor to assess overall health. Other professionals who can provide a diagnosis would be a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If someone you know expresses signs of mental illness, just listening and affirming the need to address the person’s feelings can help guide them to seek further help. It is important to steer the person to seek a health professional’s help for diagnosis and treatment. Emphasize seeking treatment early to provide relief and remove doubt. Encourage their exploration to get treatment and check-in to see how they are feeling.
Your pharmacist can assist by listening to your concerns, direct you to professionals that can diagnose your mental unwellness, and provide information about community supports available.