Today I want to deviate a bit from discussing nutrition. As important as nutrition is, there are other factors that will affect your well-being. The one I would like to discuss today is Mental Health.
Prevalence of Mental Illness
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
- Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
- 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
- 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
- 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
- Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.
- Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
- African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
- Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
- Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
- Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–1421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23
- Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
Clearly, there are many people who you and I know personally, (yes, even ourselves) who have experienced events in life that have left us emotionally and/or mentally strained.
So, what can cause us to feel or act out of sorts?
Here are the 10 most stressful things that can happen to us according to Physoc:
- The death of a spouse, relative, or friend.
- Going to jail.
- A naturaldisaster or a fire damaging your house.
- Getting diagnosed with a serious illness.
- Being fired.
- Getting separated or divorced.
- Being a victim of identity theft.
- Starting a new job.
So, in the last year, how many of these have you experienced? Perhaps in the last few years you have experienced more than one of these.
If I were to create a different list of Stressful Life Events it would include:
- Menopause (affects both genders)
- Unexpected money issues
- Having a successful career
As you can see, life, itself will give every one of us an opportunity to experience stressful events. Oftentimes, we will have more than one within a short time.
The result can leave you reeling and feeling as if you don’t know where to go and what to do next. Have you ever felt that way?
One minute you are in control and the next, you just want to fall apart.
When we lost our son six years ago to cancer when he just graduated from high school, I had never experienced that significant of a loss. After 3 plus years as his caregiver, watching his health improve, then decline during that time, I had no idea what to think or feel.
Most people don’t know how they will react after a significant life event. I certainly had no idea. What I didn’t expect was to feel lifeless and like I had no interest in anything anymore. As an avid health enthusiast, this took me by surprise. My husband dealt with his grief differently than I did. He had no idea how to help me. I didn’t either.
My diet, while not perfect, was still rich in nutrients but that just wasn’t enough to help me get beyond my thoughts and sullenness.
I could have gone on hoping that time would heal me, but instead I sought out a life coach. She wasn’t necessarily trained as a counselor, yet she was just what I needed at the time. Who would have guessed that her thoughtful questions would be just enough to break the spell and reach into my deeper self and help me express the suppressed emotion?
Why does our society have such a negative stigma about getting help for mental health issues? We don’t think twice to go to a doctor for a physical pain. But when we are unable to work through our mental issues, we try to hide it and pray it goes away.
What we neglect to consider is that mental health issues that go untreated may turn into serious physical health issues.
Uncontrolled negative emotion can be the catalyst for cancer growth. Depression that is unattended can cause physical symptoms such nausea, diarrhea, constipation, pain, and weight changes. These can lead to an immune-suppressed state which can cause serious physical health concerns.
God created people to help those in their time of need. But, you must first acknowledge you are in a state of need. Many people “think” they are healthy eaters until they are face to face with a serious health issue. Only then, do they realize they truly “need” to change their diet.
Most people walk around every day in a haze or gloom and just cannot fathom why others are smiling and seemingly satisfied with their lives. Yet, they never consider going to a counselor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a life coach or a spiritual advisor. Pastors can listen and talk with you as easily as a mental health provider. Just as medical doctors have been trained and educated about the body, mental health providers have been trained and educated about the mind.
If you have concerns about going to a mental health provider only to be told to take a drug, just know there are many alternative modalities to assist people in their desire to improve their mental health. These providers are trained in more than prescribing drugs.
Answer these questions:
- Are there mornings where you just cannot bring yourself to start the day?
- Do you seem to have difficulty staying asleep at night?
- Have your eating habits changed?
- Do you have physical symptoms that you just don’t understand?
- Have you experienced any stressful life events?
What are the first steps to helping you regain your mental health?
- Pray. Ask God for guidance and He will direct your path.
- Remove all neuro-toxic foods from your diet. Read any books from Dr. Russell Blaylock to assist you in identifying those dangerous foods to your brain. As a former practicing brain surgeon, he is an expert in the field of neuro-toxins.
- Exercise. Move your body, clear your mind.
- Go find help. While time can heal much, it still may take a little more than that to help you get beyond where you are at.
- If you are experiencing physical symptoms that just don’t add up, maybe it is time to look inside yourself and see if you are holding in emotions that are truly “eating you up!”
Mental health can create physical problems. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Get help and see the light of the day instead of the clouds in the sky. Your mental health has a major impact on your family too. You owe them the chance to get your old self back. Get some help today!