Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, more than ever, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone.
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test to let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness. Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality such as delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step. Contact the
National Alliance on Mental Illness (
NAMI) HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI to find out what services and supports are available in your community. In a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741.
If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.