Mental Health Awareness Month: Do you know what mental illness feels like?

Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

 

So often, clinical terms don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness really feels like. We know that two people with the same diagnosis can experience the same symptom and describe it in very different ways. Understanding the signs of a mental illness and identifying how it can feel can be confusing – and sometimes can contribute to ongoing silence or hesitation to get help.

It’s important for people to talk about how it feels to live with a mental illness. We know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. But not everyone knows what to look for when they are going through those early stages, and many simply experience symptoms differently. We all need to speak up early – Before Stage 4 – and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone.

This May is Mental Health Month; The Southern Ute Health Center’s Behavioral Health Department is raising awareness of the importance of speaking up about mental health, and asking individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with this hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through – and to help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

Life with a mental illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need. Whether you are in Stage 1 and just learning about those early symptoms, or are dealing with what it means to be in Stage 4, sharing how it feels can be part of your recovery.

SUHC Behavioral Health Department wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, that recovery is always the goal, and that the best prospects for recovery come when we act early in the process, Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4).

Addressing mental illnesses B4Stage4 means more than burying feelings and refusing to talk about them, and waiting for symptoms to clear up on their own. B4Stage4 means more than wishing that mental health problems aren’t real, and hoping that they will never get worse. B4Stage4 means more than thinking that someone on the edge of a crisis will always pull himself or herself back without our help, and praying that someone else will intervene before a crisis occurs.

B4Stage4 means, in part, talking about what mental illnesses feel like, and then acting on that information. It means giving voice to feelings and fears, and to hopes and dreams. It means empowering people as agents of their own recovery. And it means changing the paths of our own lives for the better, and helping those we love change theirs. So let’s talk about what life with a mental illness feels like, to voice what we are feeling, and so others can know they are not alone.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Behavioral Health Department at 970-563-4581 and ask for Mary Trujillo Young or Jennifer GoodTracks. We are here to help!Another resource available 24/7 is the Colorado Statewide Crisis Line: 844-493-8255

May is Mental Health Month! Help us get the word out about the importance of Mental Wellness by wearing something green on Friday, May 20.

Pick up a green ribbon and a green pen at the Southern Ute Health Center as a way to remember the importance of mental health.

 

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