May is Mental Health Awareness Month and For All Seasons wants the public to know that it is never too early or too late to seek treatment for your mental health. Mental health is an essential part of overall health. Unlike other physical and mental disabilities, depression, anxiety, and other challenges may not always be readily visible to friends and family. Because we don’t know who might be suffering from a mental health issue, it is more important than ever to check in on one another regularly to ask with care and full attention: “How are you doing?” Have you checked in on people in your life this month?
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. No perfect test can 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.
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness for Adults & Adolescents
Each illness has its own symptoms, but the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) includes the following indicators as possible signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents:
- 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
- Difficulty perceiving reality (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
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Mental Health America suggests that eating healthy foods, spending time outdoors, recognizing and practicing stress management, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy. When the symptoms are not manageable with these lifestyle changes, For All Seasons staff is available 24/7 to respond to your mental health needs.
Tips for Children’s Mental Health
For children, their emotional well-being is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. Just as there are basics for the good physical health of children – like nutritious food, shelter, sleep, exercise, access to health care, and a healthy living environment – there are also basics for helping the develop good mental health, including:
- Unconditional love and acceptance from family – Children need to know that your love does not depend on their accomplishments. Confidence grows in a home full of love.
- Self-confidence and strong self-esteem.
- Model honesty – don’t hide your failures. Kids need to know that we all make mistakes.
- The opportunity to PLAY – with other children, with parents or caregivers.
- Appropriate guidance and discipline.
- Talking about your feelings.
- Being aware of a child’s fears.
Sign and Symptoms of Children’s Mental Illness
Warning signs that a child’s mental health challenges may require professional assistance may include:
- Decline in school performance.
- Poor grades despite strong efforts.
- Regular worry or anxiety.
- Repeated refusal to attend school or participate in normal children’s activities.
- Hyperactivity or fidgeting.
- Persistent nightmares.
- Persistent disobedience or aggression.
- Frequent temper tantrums.
- Depression, sadness, or irritability.
There are many places to seek help – such as a child’s pediatrician, school counselor, or a mental health organization like For All Seasons. For further information, contact For All Seasons at 410-822-1018 or visit forallseasonsinc.org. For All Seasons Crisis Hotline English: 410.820.5600 | Español: 410.829.6143 | English/Español Text: 410.829.6143.
For All Seasons provides the highest quality mental health and victim services to children, adults, and families across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Services are offered in both English and Spanish and include therapy, psychiatry, victim advocacy, 24-hour crisis hotlines, outreach, and community education. For further information, contact For All Seasons at 410-822