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What a difference a friend makes.

Picture: Esteban Crz, 8th grade

 

Mental illness: What is it?

Mental illness is a health condition that causes changes in a person’s thinking, mood, and behavior. These conditions include mood disorders like depression; psychotic disorders like schizophrenia; personality disorders; and anxiety disorders like obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Mental illness is especially common among young people, and incidents are high. Yet, this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors, because too many people respond negatively when confronted with a friend’s mental illness. This only fuels the stigma surrounding diagnosis, and prevents those affected from seeking help.

Encourages young adults to support a friend living with mental illness in the recovery process. Defines mental illness and recovery; offers strategies for how to respond to a friend; dispels myths; and lists suggestions for supporting recovery.

It starts with you.

Imagine that you’ve just been diagnosed with a serious but treatable physical condition. You are scared and confused so you tell a friend. How would you feel if your friend laughs and calls you names, made rude gestures, and told you to snap out of it? People with mental illness get these reactions everyday.

The emotional and psychological aspects of mental illness make supportive friends and family even more important to a person’s recovery. If your friend tells you he or she has a mental illness, read the tips below for what you might say or how you might want to respond:

  • Express your concern and sympathy.
  • Ask for more details about how he or she is managing. Listen to the answers and continue the conversation.
  • Find out what you can do to help.
  • Reassure your friend that you still care about him or her, and be sure to include her/him in your everyday plans – seeing a movie, taking a jog etc. If your friend turns this down, reassure and re-invite without being overbearing.
  • Remind your friend that mental illness is treatable.

Courtesy SAMSHA.org. May is Mental Health Awareness month. Take some time to learn what a difference you can make.

Misery

Misery is a horrible companion:He is gloomy and depressed.He is negative and finds darkness in the lightest of situations.Every time you are close to overcoming him, he plants seed of sadness in your head,pulling you back from the ledge that will bring you happiness.For the thing he fears most is the loneliness he must embrace

with you gone.

Gabby B. 13 years old

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3 Comments on What a difference a friend makes.

  1. in the past when i relied on my friends they did not keep my secrets so now I cannot rely on them. I used to get sad and my mother encouraged me to go to the youth meeting in my church and now I am in the Bible Study class and that really helps me to overcome my stress and strain. Now I pray a lot and find myself more able to cope even though the stress is still there

    • Hi there Jay, what a wonderful story, and message here. Good to here you found an outlet. Indeed, church, church groups, and prayers do help release a lot of the burden that can come from everyday life. Soo glad you shared your story, and I hope people can learn from your experience.

  2. I hope you made new friends, O Jay because that is still very much a need we all have to be social and to interact with others our own age and with similar interests

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