Mental Health – Is Mental Health Getting Worse?

The mental health crisis in the US is more serious than most people think. In fact, more than nine out of ten adults believe that mental health is a crisis in the country today.

A number of things can contribute to poor mental health, including a lack of social support, stress and an underlying physical illness. But it’s also possible to have one of these conditions without having a mental health problem.

1. Depression

Everyone experiences spells of feeling down or fed up from time to time, but when you have depression you feel sad and down for weeks, months or even years at a time. That isn’t something you would normally think about as a health condition – but it is, and with the right support and treatment most people can recover from depression.

There are many things that can cause depression to get worse. These could include stress, a new relationship or even an additional mental health condition like bipolar disorder.

But if you have depression and notice that your symptoms are getting worse, it is essential to seek help before they get so bad that you find it difficult to function. This is especially important if you are suffering from thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

There is still a lot that we don’t know about depression, but researchers are trying to figure out what triggers it and how it may affect the brain. Some of these factors might be chemical imbalances or genes, while others are related to brain structure and inflammation.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that can get worse without help. It is a very treatable illness and most types of anxiety disorders respond well to psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”) and medication.

People with anxiety often feel overwhelmed by feelings of fear and dread. They may also have physical symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea and headaches.

This type of anxiety is a chronic disorder that usually occurs in adults, but can affect children as well. The anxiety may cause difficulties with sleep, appetite and activity level.

You can learn to control your anxious thoughts and behaviour with some self-help strategies, including relaxation techniques, breathing and meditation. It takes practice and commitment to change your habits, but it can be very effective in the long term.

Anxiety can be triggered by a number of different things, such as stress buildup or a life event. Having a family history of anxiety or other mental health problems can also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

3. Self-harm

Self-harm is when a person hurts themselves in order to relieve the emotional pain they are experiencing. It can be a normal coping mechanism, or it may be a sign that they are struggling with something more serious.

It is common for people to self-harm in the teenage and young adult years, but it can happen at any age. People who are vulnerable to self-harming are often those with mental health problems or a history of trauma.

They also tend to hurt themselves more frequently, and this can become an ongoing problem.

If you or a loved one are concerned about a friend or family member’s mental health, there are many things you can do to help.

The first step is to listen without judgement, and be honest about what they are going through. They may be feeling scared, angry or ashamed and they need you to support them. They may also need someone to talk to – ask them for a phone number or a friend they can speak to in confidence.

4. Suicide

Suicide is a devastating loss of life that can result from a wide range of circumstances or experiences. A person who considers suicide may feel that their pain is out of control and that there’s no way to get through it.

Those with depression, anxiety, or substance use problems are particularly at risk of attempting or committing suicide. If you’re concerned about someone who is thinking about suicide, be supportive and reach out to them.

For example, mental health professionals can help people develop coping skills and learn new ways to respond to difficult feelings. A support group can also be a good place to talk about emotions and how to cope.

Many essential workers are experiencing mental distress that is disproportionately high compared to non-essential workers, as well as higher than usual rates of substance use and thoughts of suicide. These effects are likely to worsen as the coronavirus continues to affect their lives.