Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mental Illness Awareness Week



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By Nurse Diane

I saw a tee shirt that said one in four people are crazy.  Check three of your friends, if they are ok, then it’s you.  While it may be true that one in four suffer from some kind of mental illness, it may not be obvious to the untrained person.

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There are many types of Mental Illness.  Katie Couric, a famous news reporter has recently started her own television show.  One of her recent confessions included the fact that she had an eating disorder.  Another topic she discussed was Depression.  Following the death of her husband she experienced many sleepless nights, the inability to concentrate, and the need to isolate herself from others.  These are normal coping mechanisms when experiencing a huge loss.  To look at Katie, one would never imagine that she experiences the same problems as others in her situation; she appears to be on top of things, so that shows you that you can't always recognize a mental illness. There have been 19 million who have been diagnosed with Depression alone, and 56% are receiving treatment.  To see her story, click here: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/katies-take-abc-news/am-depressed-102624278.html

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There are other forms of Mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This is a condition normally seen with military personnel returning from deployment, or those involved in a traumatic experience such as the theater shooting in Colorado. 

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There is also OCD, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia to name a few.  I spent a month living on the grounds of a mental institution while doing my psychology rotation.  I was able to view first-hand the expressions and actions of the patients there.  That is why when I was standing in line at the post office one day and a woman beside me starting just talking out of the blue, I was concerned for her well-being.  I was not aware at the time that she had one of those new blue tooth devices for her cell phone that attached to her ear, and she was simply having a conversation with someone on the other end. 

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This is Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Mental illness no longer carries the stigma it did years ago.  The primary goal is to recognize there is a problem and seek help.  If you, or someone close to you is suffering from any type of mental illness, encourage them to seek help from their physician and begin treatment as soon as possible.  Several types can be controlled with medication. 

For more information and ways you can help become more aware about mental illness, click on this site: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may

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