You may hear people discuss physical illness quite often, and it is often seen as something dreadful. However, not many people talk about the severity of mental health and how it has affected people. Mental illness can harm your health, productivity, and it can disrupt your entire mood. Although mental illness is not something that you can physically see, it is just as important as a physical disability and I am here to tell you why.
The effects on the brain can be just as harming as a physical injury
To explain this, I will be using the most common mental illness: anxiety and depression. Typically, whenever a part of the brain does not function properly or doesn't function at all, that is why creates the feeling that we call 'anxiety.' However, this becomes an issue when it occurs over a long period of time and it interferes with your daily life. Take depression as well, for example, which occurs if the nerve cells in your brain that are not growing, functioning properly, or connecting can create this mental illness in a part of the brain. Let's take a more serious mental health disorder, Schizophrenia, causes the brain to shrink drastically. To sum this up, mental health makes an impact on the body as your physical health would.
One of the leading causes of death in the United States is suicide
In the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. Severe symptoms of anxiety and depression can lead one to surrender themselves, which is an issue that many people are trying to help prevent. In fact, there were over one million suicide attempts in 2017 alone. If suicide and mental health was such a large issue, why aren't we taking the initiative to try and help prevent this phenomenon? Mainly because it is not very well understood and it could be very unexpected. On another note, most of the suicides are performed by teenagers, and many adults ignore the warning signs. They believe that teenagers cannot be depressed, but in reality, they are more likely to get depression than any other age group.
Despite this, mental health prevention is still one of the least funded areas of study
The average costs of suicide attempts in the United States is $93.5 billion. That averages out to $1.3 million per suicide. Despite these numbers, suicide prevention and mental health studies still remain one of the least prioritized subjects in the United States. This could be due to the fact that you cannot physically see mental illness. Also, doctors do not have the resources to do further studies on mental illness. For example, a doctor can run many blood test's an MRI's and other tests to figure out the diagnosis to a physical illness, but resources to diagnose mental illness is not available at this time. Hopefully, it will be in the future, though!
I hope this article helps increase awareness about mental health and how it impacts our lives. Remember, take care of yourself and be kind to others! You never know what someone may be struggling with. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!