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Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

The Importance of Mental Health. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fahad Alazzawi.


What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects the way we feel, think, and act.

Mental health is a broad topic due to the many things that affect people. It can impact the level of stress, level of energy, and overall person’s health. Mental health is vital for everyone at every stage of life.

Many factors can affect our mental health, including:

  • Genetic components
  • Brain chemical imbalance
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Use of alcohol and drugs

How common is mental illness in the US?

  • 1 in 5 U. S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 20 U. S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U. S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34


What are some signs and symptoms of mental health illness?

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Why is mental health important?

As mentioned above, mental health is important due to its effect on our overall health. But how does our mental health effect other components of our health?

Many studies have linked the idea that people with long-lasting depression are more likely to develop chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Also, depression can increase the risk of being obese by changing eating habits along with changes in hormone levels.

Regarding hormonal changes, as serotonin levels in the bloodstream decrease, cortisol increases. High cortisol levels lead to nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation. Also, high cortisol levels may lead to eating more and redistributing white adipose tissue to the abdominal region. In addition, elevated cortisol levels can lead to inflammation and weaken the immune system making the body more likely to get infected by many pathogens.

How are mental health disorders treated?

There are many treatments for mental health issues. Seeking help is the most crucial step. Seeing a healthcare professional who can assess then plan the next steps is critical.

Mental health disorders treatment also depends on the severity of the condition.

There are a variety of options for treatment.

Here are some examples:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Therapeutic treatment of mental illness provided by a trained mental health professional by exploring thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Medications
    • Therapeutic treatment that works to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication does not cure mental illness; however, it helps with the management of symptoms. Medication paired with psychotherapy is the most effective way to promote recovery.
  • Peer Support
    • Receiving help from individuals who have suffered from similar experiences.
  • Other treatments include:
    • Art Therapy: usually it is an adjunct therapy to traditional mental health treatment. The overall goal is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
  • Self Help Plan
    • It is a plan created by the individual to address their conditions and create strategies that leads to overall wellness.

What can we do to improve our overall wellness?

A self-help plan is a great start towards better mental health wellness by identifying triggers, warning signs, and activities that help our specific condition. For example, some people control their stress, anxiety, and overall mental health wellness by singing, painting, and exercising.

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Does exercising help with mental health?

Exercising is a healthy way to cope with a mental health disorder. YES! Exercising helps improve mental health by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain, which enhance the sense of well-being and take the mind off thinking about things that we worry about, which breaks the cycle of negative thoughts. In addition, exercising prevents the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes and reduces the chance of having heart conditions.

  1. About Mental Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm Accessed August 9, 2022.
  2. Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495#:~:text=How%20does%20exercise%20help%20depression,your%20sense%20of%20well%2Dbeing Published September 27, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  3. Mental Health by the Numbers. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/mhstats Published June, 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  4. Mental Illness. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968 published June 08, 2019. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  5. Mental Health Treatments. Mental Health America. https://mhanational.org/mental-health-treatments Accessed August 9, 2022.
  6. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. The Elitex. https://theelitex.com/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise/ Accessed August 9, 2022.
  7. Symptoms of Clinical Depression. Very well mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/top-depression-symptoms-1066910 Accessed August 9, 2022.

Mental Illness Awareness. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Corin Craigo.


What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a disease that affects someone’s mood, behavior, and how they think. It can wreak havoc on their daily life and also strain their relationships. It is a serious medical condition that can affect anyone at anytime regardless of income, skin color, religious beliefs, or age.

Mental illness is common and occurs in about 1 in 5 adults. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction are all examples of different types of mental illness. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, it’s important to know that you are not alone and help is available!


Symptoms of mental illness depend on the type of illness, severity of the illness, and other factors. Some examples of symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad
  • Confused thinking/not able to concentrate
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Excessive fears, worries, or anxieties
  • Excessive anger or violence
  • Withdrawal from friends or normal activities
  • Lack of pleasure from formerly enjoyable hobbies (anhedonia)
  • Unable to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Significant tiredness or problems sleeping
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Suicidal thinking

***If you or your loved one is thinking of suicide, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.***

Risk Factors:

There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing a mental illness. Some of these factors include:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Stressful situations (ex: financial problems, divorce, death of a loved one)
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Traumatic experiences
  • History of abuse or neglect as a child

What can YOU do for a loved one with a mental illness?

Since mental illness is so common, there is a good chance that you may know someone who has one of these conditions. One of the most important things you can do to help your loved one with a mental illness is to be supportive. Understand that mental illness is a real medical condition that is recognizable and treatable. Just because you can’t see the illness, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Actively and openly listen to your loved one. Talk about what they are going through and don’t downplay or disregard their feelings. Reassure your loved one that you are there for support and let them know they can always come to you for help.

You should also look for any behavioral or mood changes and encourage them to see their doctor when needed and to follow their prescribed treatment regimens. Correctly taking their medications is absolutely crucial in helping them to overcome their mental illness. Medications that treat mental illness can often take weeks until your loved one begins to feel a difference. They can also have unwelcome side effects. Inform the doctor or pharmacist about any intolerable side effects, because they can help your loved one find a different treatment regimen that is better tolerated. Encouraging your loved one to take care of themselves is important. Sufficient sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and keeping a regular schedule are all ways to help manage their mental illness in addition to their medications.

Available Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

  • Services Franklin county and the surrounding areas
  • All support and educational programming is free of charge
  • namifranklincounty.org

Mental Health America

  • Services Franklin county and the surrounding areas
  • Has information regarding various mental illnesses, doctors available for various mental illness, and organizations located in Franklin county
  • mhafc.org

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

  • Provides general information, treatment resources, and support group information
  • dbsalliance.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Mayo Clinic

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health America