Fifty percent of all people with mental illness had their symptoms start by age 14, 75% by age 24. For various reasons (lack of symptom knowledge, stigma of mental illness, denial and financial), most people unnecessarily experience another 10-12 years of treatment delay.
When a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, it can be frightening for all the parties involved. The main concept to remember is SAFETY FIRST; if a person becomes a threat to themselves or someone else, an intervention needs to be made immediately. The safest place to take a person is the emergency room, as necessary medication can be administered to assist with the problem. If a person does not want to go voluntarily to treatment, the police can escort that person to the ER and assist with safety concerns.
Different illnesses exhibit a variety of behaviors and symptoms. However, a family member usually has a good idea of how this person reacts to things. Some symptoms that should always be taken seriously are:
Most people go through “phases” of being in bad mood, having an anger outburst, or even feeling hopeless. If a person says something like, “I just can’t snap out of this” or you notice that they are putting themselves in a high risk situation(s) for more than 2 weeks, it is wise to see a professional for a thorough evaluation to determine if they may need some short-term treatment or an inpatient hospitalization.
Depending on the illness, different symptoms will present themselves on a scale. As stated above, anytime that a person makes a threat to harm themselves or another person, seek help immediately. If you notice that your family member has had a “personality change”, in which they are exhibiting entirely different behavior than they normally do, it never hurts to ask as a concerned person. If symptoms are rapidly getting worse, involve more friends or family to assist you with getting the person to a safe place.
If a loved one is putting themselves in danger, such as walking into traffic, wandering off without telling anyone where they are going, or using an excessive amount of a substance, contact neighbors or other friends to help. If the person disappears, call the police and report what has happened. They can escort the person to the appropriate facility for evaluation/treatment.
Are you or a loved one tired, blue, irritable, or worn-down? Have you noticed that you or someone you know don't enjoy things as much as you used to? Do you spend too much time worrying? Are you having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? It could be more than stress.
"I appreciate the role the Mental Health Association plays in our community by standing as an advocate for our citizens who are dealing with mental health issues."