Mental health just as important as physical health for well being

When we have alarming symptoms, break a bone or need a yearly physical, everyone goes to the doctor. It’s just normal.

Physical health is labeled, splattered and talked about in doctor’s offices, talk shows, magazines and marketing on commercials, yet, when it comes to a person’s mental health, very few focus on resources and help because it is a taboo topic.

While mental health is a “hush, hush” subject, one in five children aged 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness, according to www.nami.org.

This is quite the statistic, especially considering that still, the topic of mental illnesses and suicide isn’t a norm in society and numbers keep rising every day.

The co-founder of Alive and Running Suicide Prevention and Awareness Iowa, Troy Belmer, said that he believes the spike in mental health issues today is do to the lack of human connection.

“It’s so easy to misinterpret a text, a tweet, a like vs. a love on Facebook, etc. If the youth were actually talking with others, I think a lot of misunderstandings could be resolved,” he said. “Many of the ‘problems’ aren’t really problems as much as misunderstandings.”

When asked the question of why does he think that people only focus on the physical health side instead of mental health, he said that it is more acceptable to talk about, but only in an appearance manner.

“For example, a person may say they want to lose weight because they want to look better, but in reality their doctor could’ve told them they need to lose weight for diabetic or other health reasons.”

Belmer said people don’t like to discuss things that others can’t see with their eyes because it’s hard to explain when we can’t “see” it.

The fact of the matter is that mental health is as important as your physical health. No one is saying that you need to be a toned and fit body builder, and you don’t have to be happy, energetic and kind all the time.

But to be able to focus on what is wrong, how to handle the problem and use resources can be a big step in helping the mental health deficit that is sweeping not only our local community, but our country as a whole.

People need to start discussing this subject because that is the only way students, families, workplaces and schools will be able to help each other and make this world change for the better.

Belmer said that a person’s mental health should never take a back seat, and that both physical and mental health are equally as important.

“I believe it’s as important because our mental health can affect so many other areas of our lives. It can also affect others. If a person is overweight, it typically doesn’t affect others,” he said. “When we look at mental illness that isn’t cared for, it can have a huge effect on others. One person’s poor mental health has effects on others, sometimes fatal.”

According to www.teentreatmentcenter.com from a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, of the one in five teens suffering from a mental disorder, only 50 percent ever receive the help that they need.

Many of the youth today are not aware of resources in schools, locally or nationally. There are hotline numbers, support groups, signs to look for, programs, etc., for help at any age.

Mental health illnesses are not just depression or anxiety but eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety phobia, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and many others.

When people have physical issues, such as broken legs, coughs, or rashes, they can see the broken bones, people coughing into their arms or the redness on their skins.

Yet because we cannot see it, that is why people toss out the importance of mental health.

Instead of allowing stigmas to swarm and overtake society, everyone needs to work together in order to eliminate pre-existing thoughts of how mental health can’t be talked about.

It is important, it is a problem and we really do need to start talking.

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