Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Mental health needs to be addressed before Stage 4
Think for a moment about cancer, heart disease or diabetes and how they are treated. Would it make sense to wait to treat those illnesses until they reach stage 4 of the illness?
When people begin to show initial symptoms of those illnesses, such as a persistent cough, high blood pressure or high blood sugar, we immediately try to reverse those symptoms. We don’t ignore them. In fact, we develop a plan of action to reverse and attempt to stop the progression of the disease.
Why are we not doing the same thing for individuals dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
When you or someone close to you starts to experience the early warning signs of mental illness, knowing the risk factors and symptoms will help to catch them early. Oftentimes, family and friends are the first to step in to support a person through these early stages.
Symptoms such as loss of sleep, feeling tired for no reason, feeling anxious or hearing voices shouldn’t be ignored or brushed aside in hopes that the symptoms will simply go away. Like other diseases, we need to address these symptoms early, identify the underlying disease and plan an appropriate course of action on a path toward overall health. Mental health conditions should be addressed long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process — before Stage 4.
There is a free no-obligation screening tool available at Mental Health America’s mhascreening.org. It is an anonymous, free and private way to learn about your own mental health and see if you are showing signs of a mental illness.
May is Mental Health Month and the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida is raising awareness of the important role mental health plays in our lives and is encouraging members of the community to learn more about their own mental health and to take action immediately if they are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.
Mental illness is a highly treatable illness, and the earlier it is identified the better the outcome. Don’t let stigma and shame stop you from getting the help you need for yourself or a loved one. Act today, everyone deserves the opportunity to be happy and healthy. Talk to your health care professional B4Stage4.
Mental illness is a highly treatable illness, and the earlier it is identified the better the outcome. ... Act today.
Paul Jaquith is the president and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida. mhasefl.org.