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Beacon Health Options offers questions to ask and answer during Mental Health Awareness Month

In any given year, an astonishing 1 in 5 Americans will face mental illness. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., with more than 40 million lives affected. Additionally, about 16 million have major depression. But despite the prevalence of mental health conditions, only about a third of Americans seek treatment. Just as other illnesses – such as high blood pressure or diabetes – are treatable and manageable, so too are mental health issues.

That’s why May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, an observance developed to raise awareness of mental health issues and the stigma attached to them.

At Beacon Health Options, our entire focus is on mental and behavioral health, because that’s all we do — not just during the month of May but year round. It’s about starting conversations that matter with those who matter.

Mental illness: What you need to know

Mental health issues, which can include anxiety, depression, familial relationships, stress and more, have become increasingly prevalent in today’s fast-paced, less personal world.

Mental illnesses can be caused by various factors, including a reaction to trauma, environmental stresses, genetic disposition, chemical imbalances and more. Individuals and their families should take an active approach to their care and treatment by understanding their diagnosis, managing their symptoms, asking questions to their provider, and educating and motivating others.  

Potential symptoms of mental illness

There are many factors to consider when deciding if mental health services are appropriate for you or a loved one, including:

  • Do you have difficulty sleeping, either too much or too little?
  • Have you been sad or depressed for a long period of time?
  • Have your relationships with loved ones changed?
  • Do you ever do things without knowing why you did them?
  • Do you ever hear or see things that other people do not?
  • Have you ever had thoughts of suicide?
  • Do you get nervous or angry easily?
  • Are you often anxious or afraid?
  • Do you drink a lot of alcohol or take street drugs? 

While these issues alone can’t predict mental illness, if several of them are occurring it may be helpful to follow up with a doctor or mental health professional.

Questions to ask your doctor

Once you’ve made the decision to reach out to your provider, bring a family member or friend with you to the appointment for support. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor questions, such as:

  • What type of mental health problem do I have?
  • Can I get over it by myself, or will I require counseling, therapy or medication?
  • How do you treat this condition?
  • Do you have any brochures or websites that might provide more detail on the diagnosis?
  • How long will my treatment take?
  • What can I do to help myself?
  • Do you have any brochures or websites that might provide more detail on the diagnosis?

What are you doing to address all areas of your health, including physical and mental health? How are you raising awareness about this vital topic? There is no time like the present, during May as Mental Health Awareness Month, to ask yourself and others these important questions.

Whether it’s checking in on a friend or getting a mental health screening, there are lots of ways to care for your wellbeing during #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth. How do you #Thrive? Share your answer along with our graphic and start a conversation on how to #BeWell.

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