When it come to our mental health, do we really know enough?
That’s the goal, correct? To have a healthy, sound, and active mind, in an equally healthy, sound, and active body. While popular culture always seems to focus on external beauty and the way a person looks, we tend to almost ‘shy away’ from matters concerning the mind and mental health. The reason? We’re probably afraid of what people might think. Ironic, isn’t it?
But, apart from the irony in all of this, what do we really know enough about mental health? For starters, the World Health Organization defines mental health as:
"... a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities to cope with the normal stresses of life, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community." They also go on to say that mental health "is not just the absence of mental disorder."
That’s great, but what is a ‘mental disorder’ exactly, and is in any way linked to suicide? Glad you asked. Listed below are a few of the common types of mental disorders if this has any link to suicide as well as a brief description of each. If you feel as though you may be suffering from any of these conditions or know of someone, we’d like you to know that you’re not alone, and medical help is but a phone call away.
The most common types of mental illness are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia disorders; below we explain each in turn:
Anxiety disorders are the most common when it comes to mental illness. The person has an almost crippling fear or anxiety, which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder often avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety.
These are also known as affective or depressive disorders. Patients with these conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania (elation) or depression which can take a too on your mental health.
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The first thing to do is know that there is no reason for you to be ashamed of your condition, it’s no different than a cold or a ‘flu. And, just as you would go to a doctor to treat these illnesses, you would need to seek medical advice for mental illness as well.
Although premature deaths are generally linked to mental illness, specific mental conditions carry with them remarkably high lifetime instances of suicide. 95% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness. In a general sense, mental illness all too often is an isolating experience, with such isolation correlating with suicide.
Hospitalization for a psychiatric disorder is quite prevalent in the suicidal population,  including for people with any depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and substance abuse problems, delirium, and dementia, as well as certain genetic factors. A study assessing the risk for suicide during the 90 days after hospital discharge found that adults with complex psychopathologic disorders with prominent depressive features appear to have an exceptionally high short-term risk for suicide.
Read more here on how you can prevent suicide: https://www.ndtv.com/health/world-suicide-prevention-day-2020-suicides-are-preventable-expert-explains-how-2293219
Speaking to a loved one, a friend, or someone you know who lives with a mental illness, is not as easy as you might think it is. It's very important to ask the right questions and to always keep it respectful, showing them that you genuinely care. If you are unsure of what to say, here are 9 Questions Someone With a Mental Illness Wishes You Would Ask.
The first person to call would be your GP, for a full diagnosis of your condition. He or she can then refer you to a specialist doctor for further treatment. If you need help immediately, and your GP is not available, and you feel like you cannot cope, you can speak to a trained counselor by calling Lifeline on 0861 322 322, any time during the day or night, and at every day of the year. If you’d like to contact a Lifeline office near you and arrange a face-to-face counseling session, visit Life Line SA for more information.
If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s likely that your doctor would have put you on some form of medication that you’re required to take on a daily basis. With so many things happening all at once, and you trying to cope, there’s a great possibility that you might forget to take your meds. Don’t worry. Simply download the Memo Health Assitant app by clicking the image below, set up daily reminders to take your meds when you need to, and you’ll feel better soon!