A need for mental health discussion

By on August 28, 2014

In light of Robin Williams’ death, it is important to open the floor about mental health care in our country. Although mental illness affects about one in four people a year, it is still a taboo subject to Americans.

The mental illness can follow under any of these categories:

  • Anxiety disorders (such as panic disorders, OCD, social anxiety)
  • Mood disorders (depression, manic depression/bipolar)
  • Psychotic disorders (Schizophrenia)
  • Impulse control and addiction disorders (pyromania, kleptomania, eating disorders)
  • Personality disorders (antisocial personality disorder)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

A friend of mine put it very simply. Mental illnesses are like being locked in a dark closet, and you can’t find the doorknob. You see the light under the door, and you know there are people on the other side, but try as you may, you just can’t find the knob.

People with mental illnesses aren’t “weak “or “unstable”; their brain chemistry is just different from yours.  Many disorders can negatively impact your ability as a student to perform well in school and put a strain on relationships but can be easily treated or managed to minimize their impact on your life.

Mental illnesses are a result of genetics, abuse, brain injuries, poor nutrition, or exposure to toxins. Some early warning signs are eating excessively, little to no energy, and pulling away from people and usual activities.

I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety since October 2011.

It hasn’t always been easy. With the help of family, friends, and wonderful doctors, people struggling are able to live a happy life.

Mood disorders such as depression are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the US for young adult populations 18-44.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 38,000 American lives each year, more than the double number of lives lost to homicide.

For anyone struggling with these symptoms, there are many options for treatments; do not hesitate to get help because of the stigma of mental health in our country. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed of any illnesses.

UAB has support for you if you think you are suffering from a mental illness. You can contact UAB’s Student Health Services at 205-934-3581 to schedule an appointment.


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