Mental health does not discriminate: less than half seek help
NAMI found that 18.5 percent of American adults and 13 percent of children between the ages of five and 18 experience a mental illness in a given year.Posted — Updated
When you hear the phrase "mental health issue," what's the first image that comes to mind?
A mood-changing movie villain with bipolar disorder switching from violent to kind in an instant? Or, a severely impaired individual suffering from an intellectual disability that requires constant care?
Those severe cases may accurately be described as mental health issues, but we're more likely to meet someone suffering from anxiety or depression who lives in a nice neighborhood and goes to work every day. They may even be sitting in a cubicle right next to you. Mental health does not discriminate.
The chances are high that you’ve met or interacted with someone who suffers from a mental illness.
"In short, everyone is affected by this," said Dr. Thomas Sneed, a psychiatrist with Triangle Springs. "Seventy percent of us have one ACE. If somebody scores four or more, they would want to get evaluated."
Even drug and alcohol abuse can be traced back to ACEs. The emotional trauma transfers into a coping mechanism that continues beyond adolescence into adulthood.
"I have yet to find a person who uses drugs and doesn't have a ton of ACEs," Sneed said.
"As far as folks being afraid to come forward, well you know to change something usually requires taking a chance," Sneed said. "One thing a person could do — if you're talking about somebody who's well connected — is to ask someone to go with them, somebody they trust. As a treatment provider, it is useful to get the perspective of someone who knows them."
Suffering from a mental health issue is no longer as stigmatized as it once was. Everyone suffers from the same types of issues, regardless of socioeconomic status, age, gender, race or career. The underlying issues may be the same, but the symptoms can manifest in different ways and can be treated differently.
Friends, neighbors, co-workers and loved ones — anyone — can suffer from a mental health disorder. Over the course of a few articles, we'll try to de-mystify the way certain groups deal with the challenges of mental health and provide resources for more information.
From active military members, to college students, to the way men and women process their problems differently, the faces of mental health surround us each and every day.