As GFWC-NC clubwomen, we are affirming our commitment to mental health during May, Mental Health Month by becoming more aware of the issues surrounding mental illness.
In 2018, North Carolina ranked 30 out of 51, of the states and the District of Columbia, in the prevalence of mental illness, including youths and adults.
The Top Five Most Common Mental Illnesses are:
- Depression, which impacts an estimated 300 million people and is the most-common mental disorder. Generally, it affects women more often than men.
- Bipolar Affective Disorder
- Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses
Trying to tell the difference between expected behaviors and the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There is no easy test that can detect a mental illness or discern if actions and thoughts are typical or the result of a physical illness.
Each illness has its own symptoms, but the common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include:
- Feeling sad and withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
- Severe mood swings that cause relationship problems
- Intense worry that gets in the way of everyday activities
- Sudden overwhelming fear or anxiety for no reason
- Making plans or seriously trying to harm or kill oneself
- Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to lose weight
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Severe or out of control risk taking behavior that could cause harm to self or others
- Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
References: www.nami.org , www.mentalhealthamerica.net , www.talkspace.com
The following are links for printable flyers: Warning signs of a Mental Health Crisis; What to do in a Mental Health Crisis; What to do if you suspect someone is thinking about Suicide.
What can we as clubwomen do to help with mental health issues in our communities?
Learn about mental health—educate yourself.
See the person not the illness—strive to listen, understand; tell your own story.
Act—spread the word; make a difference.
Walk for Mental Health. Participate in NAMI’s largest mental health awareness and fundraising event, taking place in nearly 100 locations across the country. Visit the following link NAMIWalks.org website to learn more and register for a walk in your community today!
Take action on advocacy issues for Mental Health. Policy change is a major way we can make a difference in the lives of people and their families living with mental health conditions. NAMI advocates for an array of issues including:
- Protecting people’s access to treatment and services
- Attaining mental health parity
- Securing better funding for research
Let’s do our part! Help erase the stigma and promote mental health awareness in your community!