If You’re Struggling with Mental Health Issues, Welcome to Normal

Mental Health Issues

The stigma around mental health disorders may be lessening, but far too many people still do not seek the help they need because of shameful feelings. They do not understand that anxiety, depression, problems with focus or memory, and other mental health issues are, in fact, very common, normal occurrences. How normal? More than 50% of the world’s population will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, according to data from the World Health Organization.

 

More than 50% of the world’s population will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime. Click To Tweet

That figure is greater than the number of Americans who will experience heart disease during their lifetime, yet heart disease is not hidden under a cloak of shame and misunderstanding like mental health disorders are.

Your brain can have problems just like your heart can.  People who have a family history of heart health issues, too much visceral fat, or blood pressure that’s too high will see a doctor and make changes because they don’t want to have a heart attack.  For mental wellness, it’s important to take similar measures to support and protect your brain health.

The cost of failing to do so is great. In addition to causing personal distress, fractured relationships, isolation, and poor quality of life, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that untreated mental health issues can lead to unnecessary disability, job loss, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and suicide.

HOW COMMON ARE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES?

In today’s post-pandemic world with widening political divisions, inflation rising, deep concerns about the future of our planet, greater isolation due to social media and other factors, poor diet, and stressful lifestyles, mental health issues are more common than ever before.

In fact, surprisingly, improving mental health was the top new year’s resolution for 2023. According to a Forbes survey, 45% of respondents made improved mental health one of their top resolutions—above weight loss, improved diet, more exercise, and improved finances—marking a seismic shift in the value placed on mental well-being.

Just three years earlier, mental health was fifth after improved finances, diet, exercise, and weight loss, according to data. What’s more, young people value mental health even more. In the Forbes survey, 51% of Gen Z respondents placed improved mental health at the top of their list.

OVERVIEW OF MENTAL HEALTH IN AMERICA

Indeed, Americans are likely prioritizing mental health because so many of us are struggling with it.  Here’s a snapshot of key findings from the 2021 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey:

General Mental Illness

Depressive Episode

  • 1 in 5 adolescents aged 12-17 experienced a depressive episode in the last year.
  • More than 20 million adults experienced depressive episodes in the last year.

Suicide

  • 3 million adolescents aged 12-17 had serious thoughts of suicide, 1.5 million people made a suicide plan, and 892,000 attempted suicide.
  • 3 million adults had serious thoughts of suicide, 3.5 million made a suicide plan, and 1.7 million attempted suicide.
  • Additionally, the National Institute of Mental Health lists suicide as the second leading cause of death among kids and young adults ages 10-34.

Substance Abuse

  • 3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year.
  • Additional research found that in 2021, there were over 106,600 deaths due to drug overdose in the U.S.—the highest on record, largely driven by substances laced with synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.

Anxiety and Depression

Additionally, new survey research updated in March 2023 found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in adults.

  • 3 % of all adults (and 49.9% of young adults aged 18-24) reported experiencing anxiety and depression.

Even though we have more mental health awareness than ever and mental health issues are so prevalent, more than half of people with mental illness don’t get the help they need according to a 2022 report from Mental Health America.  It may be time to transform the way we think about mental health struggles.

SMART PEOPLE SEEK HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

If you’re having trouble with your mental well-being—whether it’s your negative thinking, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, self-harm, substance use, addictive behavior, sleeplessness, mood, motivation, focus, or memory—consider letting go of the false idea that you’re not normal and get the help you need.

It’s a bright person who seeks help, not a weak one. Imagine you’re an entrepreneur with a struggling business. Wouldn’t you seek the advice of the smartest consultant you could find to help you? Failing to get expert advice might mean losing your business—or worse—bankruptcy.

Prolonged, needless mental suffering serves no one. Seeking the best mental health support you can find is smart. When you seek support and discover there are many others who struggle with mental health issues too, isolation, shame, and pain diminishes.

MENTAL HEALTH IS BRAIN HEALTH

Looking at mental health through the prism of brain health can be supremely useful for proactively taking charge of your mental well-being. Few people want to be labeled defective or abnormal. Seeing mental health issues as brain health issues shifts the focus in a constructive way. With our brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics, people can see their brains, and they begin to see that mental health is a medical issue, not a moral one.

Looking at mental health as a brain health issue lessens shame and guilt, increases self-acceptance, and promotes forgiveness, compassion, and greater understanding among an individual’s family and friends too. It’s also more accurate to acknowledge mental health is a brain issue, which elevates hope and stokes the desire to get help and make the necessary lifestyle changes.

It’s profoundly empowering when an individual begins to see that the brain is in charge of everything, and taking good care of it will help improve not just mental health, but life in general.

Mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

6 Comments »

  1. I started out with visits to a psychiatrist, until I had a major depressive episode. I was hospitalized for a month. I was put on medication and went to classes every day. It was the first time I learned about myself. That was 1982, and I am still on antidepressants. I take 3 different meds. My brain does not produce serotonin. I understand depression better now and I live a healthy happy life. I do at times still get depressed episodes.

    Comment by Sheree Fravel — July 31, 2023 @ 3:17 AM

  2. My grandson has been fighting mental illness now for 7 years. He's seen counselors, doctors, ect. He had been diagnosed with bipolar 1& depression. He has taken various prescribed drugs, works for awhile then he stops them for one reason or another, hence, returning to unacceptable behavior. He is one step from being homeless, his parents are worn out and at such a loss they want to stop. I live in New Mexio, grand is in California.. I feel like something has been overlooked. He has not had a complete medical physical. Help.

    Comment by Claudia Young — July 31, 2023 @ 9:14 AM

  3. I Need help for my grandson, I feel like if we could look at his brain it would give a better understanding of what is going on. I refuse to, accept that he is acting out and various other things he has been accused of. He has a diagnosis of bipolar.
    It had not been discussed that years of wrestling. I witnessed him getting his head slammed to the ground more times than anyone should suffer, Age 5 to present day he wrestles. He is a sparing partner for the high school his father coaches at. He also roped as a youngster and no doubt got bucked off .

    Comment by Claudia Young — July 31, 2023 @ 9:28 AM

  4. Hello Claudia, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 11 locations nationwide: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. We'd be happy to contact you directly with more information regarding what you've shared about your grandson. For any additional questions, please contact our Care Coordinators here: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 31, 2023 @ 10:47 AM

  5. Getting help was the best thing I ever done for myself. I highly recommend it.

    Comment by Lisa — July 31, 2023 @ 1:13 PM

  6. This is an incredibly negative article! Talking never helped anything unless accompanied by actionable ideas. Changing one's personality to get what you need in life is not a simple thing, and we need more empowering approaches rather than those that simply advise us to "get help" from anyone. If we can't get it done alone, it won't get done.

    One thing never mentioned is cost. Cost in privacy, time, and finances. None of this stuff is free, nor is there any guarantee. Your goals may or may not align with the goals of the clinic. Just learn what you can from all sources , draw your own conclusions, and get moving. You might not solve your problems in one lifetime, but for sure you won't if you don't try.

    Comment by John — August 1, 2023 @ 6:38 AM

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