Let’s Talk About It: Mental Illness And Recovery

There is Hope!

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Get help: If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, text NAMI to 741-741 to get free 24/7 support via text from a trained crisis counselor

call 911 and ask for an officer trained to deal with psychiatric crisis and intervention

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness refers to a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior.

Four Mental Health Conditions:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Schizophrenia
  4. Bipolar Disorder


It’s not just worries.

Anxiety is feelings of fear, panic, or obsessive thinking that interferes with daily activities. A person experiencing anxiety might describe feelings of

  • Restlessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to put aside a thought
  • Sweating, Heart racing, Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability

Treatment Includes:

  1. Self Care- avoid alcohol, quit smoking, reduce caffeine intake, get exercise, practice sleep hygiene, eat a balanced diet
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- refers to therapy aimed at examining how negative thought patterns, behavior, mood are all connected and helps people over come challenges through a process of reframing negative or distressing thought in order to change behavior
  3. Psychotherapy- refers to seeking a licensed therapist to talk through and deal with concerns so that a person can increase functionality, healing, and overall well-being.


Constant sadness.

Depression can affect a person of any age, race, gender, socioeconomic background, or education level. Each year depression affects 6.7% of the US population, and according to the World Health Organization 264 million people globally suffer from it.

It is important to increase awareness about depression and other mental health concerns because they can lead to suicide.

Treatments for depression

  • Self care – exercise, vitamin D, sleep hygiene, balanced diet with complete protein, quit smoking, avoid alcohol and other depressants
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – therapy focused on the interplay between thought, perspective, and behavior
  • Psychotherapy – talk therapy with a licensed counselor to bring negative thought patterns into the open in order to adjust patterns of thought that cause severe distress and debilitation

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the US among people aged 15 to 44, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Click the link below for depression screening



What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that impacts the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves. It has debilitating implications regarding work, school, and relationships, but treatment options exist to mitigate crisis events, promote education for those diagnosed and their families, as well as consistent therapies to help increase a person’s functionality, sense of self, and well-being.

People with schizophrenia are at increased risk for suicide, addiction, homelessness, and malnutrition. That is why it is important to work on raising awareness about mental health, because these issues are, in some cases, interconnected.

What if I know someone with schizophrenia?

  1. Get help – during a crisis it is important to involve people who are trained in psychiatric deescalation and intervention. Keep everybody safe.
  2. Compassion – a person experiencing active psychosis may be fearful, paranoid, disoriented, confused, lonesome, or experiencing hallucinations. Use nonjudgemental communication and do not engage in confrontation.
  3. Educate Yourself – Witnessing a friend or family member experiencing psychosis can be distressing, but with more information about what is going on and how to help can reduce the initial feelings of inadequacy, confusion, and helplessness.

What if i have been diagnosed with schizophrenia?

  1. Seek Support – You are not alone. There are people who will help you. Resources include the hotline listed at the top of this page, the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), and medical professionals.
  2. Make self care a priority – Recovery involves acute forms of self care, but maintenance can be things like eating well, sleep hygiene, starting a journal, engaging in healthy forms of self expression and emotional outlet, and exercise.
  3. Ask about filing for disability, snap, shelters, and other services in your area that can help you if you need them.
  4. Create a routine – After crisis, and recovery, it is important to set realistic goals, build self esteem, and make some connections with people who love and accept you. Maybe returning to school is your goal, or going back to work. These can be achieved alongside regular therapy, medication, and support.
  5. Prepare and Plan Ahead – as with any mental illness, it is important to plan ahead for a possible relapse. What will you do if you can’t get access to your medication? Who will you call and what numbers do you need in case there is an emergency? Will your job allow you to take some time off during a relapse or psychiatric crisis? If so, how much?

Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that has several variations and presentations. In general, bipolar disorder is a category of three related states that involve periods of mania, periods of depression either cyclical in nature or a combination of the two together.

Mania in adults is diagnosed when it lasts for at least 7 days or requires immediate hospitalization. A depressive episode is defined as low mood, feelings of helplessness, or worthlessness for a period of 2 weeks or more.

How does bipolar disorder impact a person’s life?

A person experiencing this disorder may feel invincible and engage in risky behaviors or exhibit poor judgement which put the person at increased risk for physical injury, loss of possessions, money and personal property, over eat, drink too much, and stop sleeping. In addition, the opposite may also influence them at times. They may experience lethargy and extreme fatigue, have trouble accomplishing daily activities, lose a job, feel extremely sad, have appetite changes, sleep disturbances ranging from insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep) or hyper-somnolence (excessive sleep).

facts and figures:

Bipolar Disorder

  • Approximately, 4.4% of the US population experiences bipolar disorder in their lifetime
  • Of those with bipolar disorder, 82.9% of people had severe disability and impairment which is the highest among all mood disorders
  • The highest risk population is young adults between the ages of 18-29 at roughly 4.7%, compared to adults 45-59 having roughly 2.2% bipolar diagnosis

Media Resources

June 24, 2019 Heather Sarkis