Since 1999, the rate of people taking their own lives has steadily risen over a 15 year period by 24%. When looking at the leading causes of death in the United States, the discussion of mental healthcare becomes a sobering necessity: During 2016, suicide was the fourth leading cause of all deaths of people ages 35 – 54 and the second leading cause of death between ages 10 – 34.
In a digital age where life is no longer a series of choices and events but, now, a performance for the entire world to see, the pressures on an individual psyche, the reserves required to bolster against negativity with the now flimsy “sticks and stones” adage, have mounted exponentially. Society has yet to build an emotional intelligence around the rapid change and mainstream exposure of personal problems.
The time has passed for the negative stigma associated with mental illness: open conversations about mental healthcare could save lives.
We take for granted the functionality and reliability of our state of mind.
Until we notice a lack of control over our reactions to temporary emotions, we blindly enjoy our endurance in the ebb and flow of life events. Those who know how it feels to either steadily or suddenly lose control over powerful emotions want nothing more than to reclaim the invisible strength of mind over matter.
We live in a society who considers it brave to seek professional help for mental illness when it is the most natural inclination for self-care a person could choose. It is not considered brave to go to the ER after breaking a leg after falling out of a tree – instead, this reaction to a physical injury is labeled as the logical, smart thing to do. With mental illness, we disassociate the musculature of a healthy mind with imaginary superstitions and paradigm related fears of exposing our pain to another person.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States (which is about 43.8 million people) suffer from some form of mental illness. Of that 40+ million people, more than half (nearly 56%), are not receiving the care they need to live functional, contented lives, per the research proffered by Mental Health America. One of the leading reasons so many people avoid treatment for mental illness is the fear and shame attached to speaking to someone about their feelings. Building a more logical concept of mental health similar to the acceptable reactions to physical health is a powerful pathway to improving the lives of over 40 million Americans (add to this the 21.4% of the population from ages 13 – 18 in America suffering from mental illness). The negative stigma around mental illness and starting the life-saving conversations regarding its necessary treatment derives from the language and ill-informed assumptions of being “crazy” or feeling society condescending to (or, in extreme situations, threatening) the person in need of help. The compassion naturally inspired for a broken limb is just as important, if not more so, for mental illness.
Depression and anxiety are injuries of the mind causing intense pain for millions of Americans.
Among the prevalent culprits of mental injuries to the mind are depression and anxiety. According to NAMI, 6.9% of adults in the United States have suffered at least one major depressive episode (approximately 16 million people) and 18.1% of adults have some form of anxiety disorder (phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive, etc.). The numbers for depressed youth are increasing at a disturbing rate, reaching from 5.9% of the youth population in 2012 to 8.2% as of 2015.
It is short-sighted to view depression and anxiety as temporary, controllable emotions from which one should just “lighten up” or “calm down.” Those experiencing the symptoms of depression tend to exhibit less resilience to physical ailments; for example, according to WebMD, patients with major depression are at greater risk of death following a heart attack. Depression hampers a patient’s abilities to follow medical advice or take regular doses of medication. The ability to “lighten up” is less than obtainable considering those with depression tend to have disrupted sleep patterns. Inadequate rest decreases a person’s ability to focus and make sound decisions. In some severe cases, severe, untreated depression is linked to the increased risk for suicide.
A certain level of anxiety is normal for most people; anxiety is a natural reaction to potential dangers which signal to any living being into self protection. However, for those suffering from a major anxiety disorder, life is lived in perpetual survival mode and takes its toll on the body and a person’s relationships. The heart-pounding and mind-racing symptoms of anxiety may lead to long-term health problems and increase the likelihood or a stroke or heart attack. Anxiety is also linked to the early degradation of memory.
Left untreated, what appear to be minor, livable symptoms of depression or anxiety may develop in more several mental disorders, to include adjustment disorder, which may demand more aggressive treatments as the illness progresses. Similar to the broken leg analogy, if left untreated, the bones may not knit together properly or a major infection from the accident may result in more intense remedies.
Debi Douglas promotes a safe, therapeutic environment for those suffering from mental illness regardless of ethnicity.
Of the 40+ million adults suffering from the symptoms of mental illness, the African American and Hispanic American communities are even less likely to seek out treatment than Caucasian and Asian Americans. More specifically, approximately one third of these communities will seek help compared to the rest of the population. To add to this unfortunate statistic, these communities are 20% more likely to endure some serious psychological illness than the rest of the population. Seeking out a safe space where finding the compassion and expertise required for easing the symptoms of major mental health issues is vital to improving quality of life. According to NAMI, spiritual beliefs play a major role in seeking strength and guidance. Debi Douglas is a spiritually focused counselor dedicated to providing a powerful combination of the aspect of faith and the science-backed methods for addressing mental healthcare.
For the Latino community, NAMI lists two major reasons for avoiding mental healthcare: language barriers and concerns for privacy. Debi Douglas is fluent in both English and Spanish to break the language barrier for the Latino community of North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, Florida. Privacy and confidentiality is a given when seeking quality mental healthcare as no information regarding one’s condition can be shared without explicit permission from the patient.
Debi Douglas provides thoughtful mental healthcare for those struggling with mood disorders in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Debi Douglas has practiced over the last 9 years, following her training at the Trinity International University, assisting victims of mental health issues as well as those processing major life transitions. Certified in several treatment modalities, Debi Douglas brings a customized, well-rounded, and spiritual approach to guiding people through the harmful emotions symptomatic of anxiety, depression, and addiction. As president of the Tyla Mental Health, she is available to meet with you at one of two locations (1449 Jupiter Park Drive #18, Jupiter, FL, 33458 and 3307 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33403). Please, call 561-575-2646 or send an e-mail to [email protected] to reclaim your peace of mind.