Take notice to mental health struggles

May 1, 2019

Many signs of illness are easy to detect. If someone is using crutches or being guided around in a wheelchair, it’s easy to determine they are suffering from some sort of malady.

But for the millions who suffer from mental illness, the telltale signs are not so apparent. They tend to walk and talk without difficulty, and there are no outward hints that indicate just how badly they hurt inside.

That’s why mental illness was once ignored over the course of several generations, or worse yet, those who suffered from it were subjected to ridicule and even punishment. Remember how U.S. Gen. George Patton slapped a soldier who was hospitalized for psychoneurosis, accusing him of cowardice, in 1943? The incident became one of the more compelling scenes from the classic 1970 film “Patton.’’

These days, substantial positive steps have been made, and we, as a society, now recognize the harmful effects of mental disease. We now have a month, May, that is dedicated to mental health awareness.

Still, so many of us battle the disease, all too often suffering in silence. What can be done to stem the suffering? First, consider these warning signs listed by New Roads Behavioral Health:

Long-lasting sadness or irritability; extremely high and low moods; excessive fear, worry or anxiety; social withdrawal; and dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.

Do you or someone you know struggle with any of these issues? There’s a good chance that in one or more instances, the answer is “yes.’’

If so, there’s no time like now to seek help or urge someone else to seek aid.

Treatment is helpful for all forms of sickness, but nothing can be accomplished if it’s not sought out first.