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Hospital Corner

Mental Health Series Problem identification


July 14, 2022

In our ongoing series on mental health, we will help you identify signs and symptoms of mental health concerns. It is important to know that you can have days with poor mental health without having a diagnosable condition.

We all have days, maybe even weeks, that are more challenging. We want to normalize these signs and symptoms. Stigma is an unnecessary barrier to seeking help for mental health. Mental health deserves the same attention as a person’s physical health, as their emotional health. Experiencing symptoms consistent with mental health issues should not cause shame. A person’s mental health can impact, for good or bad, all areas of life, work, family, physical health, sleep, diet and how we function in life, our work, spiritual and our family functioning. Our mental health, inner thoughts, and emotional health can drive our behaviors and relationships with others.

In 2020, the CDC reports that 40% of Americans reported struggling with mental health and substance use concerns including 11% of us having seriously considered suicide. How do we address this cycle of suffering and loss of life? Take time to ask yourself about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if a pattern may be caused by a mental health condition. Here are some questions to get you started:

• Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?

• Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard?

• Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy? Are you isolating?

• Do you feel irritated, possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about?

Also sleep and diet changes, such as eating more sugar or fats, more caffeine, more alcohol, drugs or smoking more, not exercising can be signs of a mental health concern. Poor habits may then, over time lead to other health problems. If you are struggling with these types of things, it is time to reach out to those who wish to and can help you before the issue becomes deadly or life altering.

Local counseling with Columbia County Health Systems or Blue Mtn Counseling are here to help. If you will just reach out for help, the Columbia County Crisis hotline is 509-876-0626. The YWCA has domestic violence assistants at 509 382 9922 and the National Suicide Prevention/ Crisis Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 988 (see article below). Ask someone to stay with you awhile, and allow them to keep safe any lethal weapons or supplies of drugs you could potentially hurt yourself with. Please, be safe.

-Contributed by Dawn Meicher, ARNP


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