Mental Health Infograph of Children and Teens

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Click on the image above to magnify the information in the graphic.

 

Children & teens susceptible to experiencing anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts that intersect with various areas of their lives. Some areas of a child’s/teen’s life that are impacted by mental illness include their school (academic performance, academic attainment), family dynamics, conflicts in the home, socially (disruptions in interpersonal relationships with peers), and personally in how one relates to themselves (i.e., low self-esteem, poor body image, etc).

It is important to keep in mind that the way in which mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are exhibited in a child/teen’s behavior may differ from how an adult experiences similar symptoms. For instance, a depressed child of nine years old may demonstrate higher levels of irritability or externalized/aggressive behavior, in comparison to a depressed adult who may miss days of work due to being unable to get out of bed.

Luckily, mental illness symptoms can be identified early (in childhood or adolescents) in order to prevent long-term debilitation and struggle. There is hope.

Thank you National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for creating this informative graphic. http://www.nami.org.

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Speak out about how Mental illness has impacted your life: Here’s How

How has mental illness impacted your family? Whether are you have the diagnosis personally or if you are a family member and friend of someone who does, you are still impacted, in some way, by mental illness. A wonderful friend of mine, brought these amazing resources to my attention. I would like to share them with you and provide you with the opportunity, as well, to become involved and share your story.

I highly encourage EVERYONE to participate in sharing their story regarding mental illness. Even if you have not been a diagnosis, just sharing your challenges with others can provide a feeling of camaraderie with those who share similar experiences. We can begin to understand the immense of strength that we own by hearing others’ stories & sharing our own.

The first opportunity is sharing your story on the radio:
If you would like to share your story with 89.3 KPCC, a radio station, please click on this link: http://www.scpr.org/network/questions/mi. After clicking on this link, there will be text boxes for you to share your story with the world. A KPCC radio journalist will respond to you by email.

The second opportunity is to participate in a campaign called “I Will Listen” (iwilllisten.org). The campaign is based in New York by NAMI, but has sent ripples throughout the country. By visiting this site, viewers will be able to watch hundreds of videos of ordinary people and celebrities share their stories of how mental illness has impacted their lives.

A link for the NY Times newspaper article about the “I Will Listen” campaign: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/media/a-campaign-urges-listening-to-those-torn-by-mental-illness.html

The way we get rid of the stigma is coming together and sharing our courageous stories about how we are impacted my mental illness. Mental illness is an issue that we are all experiencing on some level, every day of our lives. Luckily, you don’t have to experience it alone.

SHARE YOUR STORY

Educate, Empower, & Recover…. OH MY!

Yesterday, I experienced an interesting moment.
I notified someone, who holds a dear place in my heart, that I will be working with adults who experience severe mental illness next year during my internship. I expected the responses “congratulations” or “that’s awesome”. However, I received those responses and something more: “I hope it doesn’t rub off on you”.

                                 This comment does not stem from ignorance.
                     The comment stems from a lack of knowledge and fear.

First of all, let me state that this individual did not mean the comment to be demeaning or stigmatizing. Yet, the comment got me thinking about the number of people who may also have a similar belief; the belief that mental illnesses are contagious. This idea is beyond inaccurate.

Honestly, the comment caught me off guard. I did not know whether to be upset, angry, or happy. I was upset at the amount of misunderstanding that people with a mental illness experience daily. I was angry at the stigma that is direct towards me and others who work within the mental healthcare system, in addition to those who receive mental health services. And, simultaneously, I was happy.

I felt an odd level of happiness at the comment, “I hope it doesn’t rub off on you”, because the comment provided me with information. The information I gained from hearing this comment is that there remains a need to inform communities and family members about mental illness. The comment has provided me with an opportunity to educate, as well as advocate.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI, 2013) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2012), mental illnesses are conditions that can disturb an individual’s thoughts, feelings, mood, interpersonal skills, and daily functioning. Mental illnesses impact people of all ages, socioeconomic status, race, and religion. Severe mental illnesses include major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders [such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)], and borderline personality disorder.

“Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weaknesses,
lack of character, or poor upbringing”
(NAMI, 2013).

I can not stress enough: recovery from mental illness is possible. Although there are genetic aspects to mental illnesses, as there is with the development of cancerous cells, mental illnesses are NOT contagious like the cold or flu.

 

For more information regarding the mental illnesses mentioned above, please visit the resources listed below:

— American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2012). www.psychiatry.org/mental-health.
— Let’s Talk Facts Brochures. (2005). American Psychiatric Association.
          www.psychiatry.org/mentalhealth/lets-talk-facts-brochures.
— National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (2013). www.nami.org
— What is Major Depression. (2013). National Alliance on Mental Illness. 
          http://www.nami.org/factsheets/depression_factsheet.pdf