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The Face of Mental Illness

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If I asked you to describe what someone with depression looks like, what would you say? Sad? Crying? Disheveled? Although those are symptoms of depression, it is also a stereotype. Depression, as well as mental illness in general, is not a facial expression. You cannot tell just from looking at a person that they have a mental illness. Individuals who have suffered from mental illness for a long time can be very good at hiding it. You may see them every day with a smile on their face, when really they are being tortured on the inside. Mental illness is not something that is easy to comprehend because you can’t see it like you can a broken bone.

That’s why it is important to start the conversation about mental illness. The more we can openly talk about it, the more we break down barriers and fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The majority of people think having a mental illness is a sign of weakness and something to be ashamed of. So problems get swept under the rug and forgotten about, only, the problem doesn’t just go away. The longer symptoms are ignored, the worse they become. It is far less devastating to deal with the problem head on than to wait until a crisis happens.

Here are a few important facts about mental illness:

One in four Americans will have a mental illness in their lifetime.
Many lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.
79% of suicides in the U.S. are committed by men.
Anxiety disorders affect 18% of the population, making it the most common mental illness.

Although mental illness is not always preventable, it is treatable. Any given year, about 40% of the population with mental illness seeks treatment. But that means 60% do not and that is the population we need to reach out to.

We recognize May nationally as Mental Health Month. In Honor of the occasion, Horizons Mental Health Center has several events to promote mental health.

Friday, May 13, at 6:00 PM- Family Movie Night: Join us for a screening of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. This is a free event the whole family can enjoy! Families are encouraged to bring camp chairs, lawn chairs, pillows, and blankets for the indoor movie event. Popcorn and bottled water will be provided! We are hosting the event in the Trade Center Community Room, 1600 N. Lorraine in Hutchinson.
Wednesday, May 25, 8:00 AM- 5:00 PM- Youth Mental Health First Aid Training: This training is geared for individuals who want to learn more about mental health issues for adolescents. Participants will learn about general mental health issues, signs and symptoms of different mental illnesses, and how to handle crisis situations. This class is offered for free through a grant from the United Way of Reno County. Lunch is provided and space is limited. Call or email Erin Givens at 620.663.7595 ext 489 or givense@hmhc.com to register.
Tuesday, May 31, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM- Adult Mental Health First Aid Training: This training is geared for individuals who want to learn more about mental health issues for adults. Participants will learn about general mental health issues, signs and symptoms of different mental illnesses, substance abuse, and how to handle crisis situations. This class is offered for free through a grant from the United Way of Reno County. Lunch is provided and space is limited. Call or email Erin Givens at 620.663.7595 ext 489 or givense@hmhc.com to register.