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Mental health issues are affecting more people

Mental Health
Posted at 7:36 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 13:29:26-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Manic Mondays isn't just a Bangles song: Nearly one out of 20 American adults live with some type of mental-health issue.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in 2021, only 46 percent of those suffering from mental illness sought treatment.

For one Coastal Bend woman, getting the help she needed was the difference between living and not living.

"It doesn't matter if you believe in mental illness, you should believe in people. And people should help in people," said Sofia Jimenez.

But not everyone is getting the help the need.

Dr. John Lusins with Corpus Christi Medical Center Bayview Behavioral Hospital says, mental health is a state of mind. It refers to both illness that can happen as a result of our psyches, or a result of our biological makeup.

"A lot of people think of mental health only as something like schizophrenia or somebody being psychotic, but it envelops a broad spectrum: anywhere from substance abuse, anxiety, PTSD, women's health, including postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis," Lusins said.

Those seeking treatment for mental health typically will receive inpatient or outpatient care, depending on the severity of symptoms. Hospitals and doctors offices across the country have reported a significant drop in patients seeking routine medical care or check-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the same for those suffering with mental health.

For Jimenez, the lack of family support and the stigma tied to admitting that something is wrong affected her decision to get treatment sooner.

She knew something wasn't right as early as 7 years old. It wasn't until decades later, when she was seeking treatment for her wife who suffers from schizoaffective bipolar disorder, that she began to get help for herself.

NAMI Greater Corpus Christi gave her the tools to end years of depression and self-mutilation.

"My family didn't really seem to accept anything as mental health as existing," Jimenez said. "I never bothered to say anything. I always felt like if I said something I would be shunned."

As the pandemic started to ease a bit, more people have reached out for help. The challenge now is, the lack of mental health professionals to get the job done.

Lusins said, the best way to start addressing mental health is by having a good support system. And if you are someone who has a family member or friend suffering from mental health, recognizing the signs and asking questions can make the difference.

Another troubling statistic is the number of younger people who are now dealing with mental health issues.

Because of the challenges due to the pandemic, mental health professionals says, for those under 18, one in 10 experience a mental health condition.

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