Getting Help for Mental Health Issues
Mental health crises are widespread. In the United States alone, one in five adults lives with a mental illness. Where there are mental illnesses, there are inevitably mental health crises. Unfortunately, when left untreated, these issues can negatively impact client health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who struggle with their mental health may also experience other problems such as increased abuse of substances, insomnia, nightmares, and unhealthy changes in eating habits. Additionally, they may suffer from physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and other body pains. Luckily, some hotlines can help people through these situations.
What Are the Signs That Someone Is Struggling With Their Mental Health?
It often feels impossible to recognize the signs of mental distress in other people, and this problem is only aggravated when we are dealing with our struggles. When it comes to our mental health, we tend to write off the signs we notice or assume they will go away.
This is dangerous. If you neglect your own mental health, you may find your symptoms worsening until you have an emergency. On the other hand, if you understand the signs of mental health struggles, you may be able to stave off a crisis.
Indications that you may be having trouble with your mental health include:
- Changes in dietary habits
- Withdrawing from the people you love
- Low energy
- Feelings of helplessness
- Excessive substance use
Most importantly, if you are having thoughts about what it would be like if you were gone or are considering hurting yourself in any way, that is a sign to seek immediate help. You are not alone and should not have to face some of the most significant struggles in your life without support. There is a better way.
What Constitutes a Mental Health Crisis?
Even when you know you’re struggling, it can sometimes be challenging to acknowledge the depth of your mental illness. You may fear that asking for help will make you seem overly dramatic. This is where mental health hotlines come into play. When you are calling a hotline, you are not being judged. Everyone on the line is there to help you. Even so, some people feel better about calling a hotline when they know what constitutes a mental health crisis.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a mental health crisis occurs when someone’s mental disorder begins to impact their life and/or health significantly. This can include times when a person’s struggles make them a danger to themselves or others, but it is not limited to those times. These types of crises are the ones taken the most seriously, and they are most easily recognizable.
A crisis is also occurring when a mental illness causes complete withdrawal, preventing the person it affects from being able to take care of themselves. If mental struggles hinder you from living as happy and healthy a life as you deserve, you have reached a crisis level. Calling a hotline is definitely warranted in these situations.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety in his or her life. When anxiety starts to take over your life, however, it becomes an issue. It can cause physical symptoms, such as panic attacks that culminate in hyperventilation or heart palpitations, and it can cause psychological symptoms, such as a debilitating sense of fear or dread and difficulty concentrating on anything but your worries. Thankfully, anxiety can be treated, so you don’t have to struggle alone.
Our hotline can also help our clients while they are struggling with an active panic attack. A person may be having a panic attack if they are experiencing these issues:
- An intensified heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Trembling or shaking
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Panic attacks are often caused by other mental issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those at our hotline can help if you worry you are having a panic attack. Your call will be free and completely anonymous. Once you are on the line, our staff can help you through your panic attack. Even if you fear you are having a panic attack, but this is not the case, our staff will talk to you and reassure you without any judgment.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by moods that shift from periods of extreme elation to those of unbearable sadness. Those ecstatic moments can lead someone to think they have absolutely nothing to worry about, causing them to make reckless decisions that they may not be able to come back from. The deeply depressive episodes also pose large risks, leading the sufferer to feel a loss of joy and may even lead them to contemplate ending their own life.
If you feel that you may be struggling with bipolar disorder, calling the National Mental Health Hotline is a good first step. We will connect you with someone who is happy to listen to you, guide you, and assist you through your struggle, and they can help you find a treatment plan and a therapist.
Depression is another mental disorder that affects a wide range of individuals. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 21 million adults in the United States suffered at least one depressive episode in 2020. Only slightly more than half of those individuals sought help.
Some symptoms of depression include:
- Trouble focusing or remembering specific details
- Feeling guilty, worthless, and helpless
- Persistent sad and empty feelings
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, leading sufferers to struggle with both fear and deep sadness. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. A good rule of thumb is that anxiety often leads to worries about the future, and depression often causes deep focus on events of the past.
Depression also has many different categories:
- Some people suffer from consistent depression that continues for years at a time, known as dysthymia.
- Other people may struggle with depression during the colder and darker months, which is seasonal depression.
- People with bipolar disorder also struggle with depression during their episodes of low energy.
- Depression can lead to extreme feelings of worthlessness that can cause a crisis.
Calling a hotline can be the first step toward getting help. Even if a sufferer isn’t feeling suicidal, if they suspect they have depression, it is imperative to seek help soon before things escalate. When you call the National Mental Health Hotline, you will be paired with a professional who can speak to you about your depression and lead you to resources that will aid you through your struggle.
Our depression hotline is open and available for those who are worried about their depression but are not yet considering hurting themselves. If you need a hotline to help you through that specific and painful struggle, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which you can reach by dialing 988.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD occurs after someone experiences one or more highly traumatic events. This disorder is common in soldiers during and after a war, but it can be caused by several kinds of traumas.
The symptoms of PTSD are placed into four separate categories:
- Intrusive memory symptoms occur when the sufferer is constantly recalling traumatic events. These can take the form of flashbacks, nightmares, or triggers, which are moments that remind the sufferer of their trauma and cause physical symptoms.
- Avoidance symptoms occur when the sufferer is avoiding anything and everything that relates to their traumatic event. They won’t talk about it or think about it, and they will often avoid locations, activities, and people that remind them of the event.
- Changes in thoughts and mood may cause sufferers to think negatively about themselves. They may feel anxiety and hopelessness about the future, have difficulty remembering the traumatic event, and experience emotional numbness.
- Changes in reactions occur when the sufferer begins to react defensively toward stimuli. These stimuli can cause them to become easily frightened, on their guard, irritable, or angry. They can also cause outbursts or lead to strong guilt or shame.
The staff at the Mental Health Hotline can help you in a number of ways. We can talk to you about PTSD and explain how your condition can be treated. While doing this, we will point you toward mental health professionals in your area who may be right for you and explain how you can find ones that accept your insurance. If your PTSD is contributing to addiction, we can help you with that as well, guiding you toward outpatient care or rehab centers. Whatever the cause, we are here to help you through your PTSD.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that requires professional help. People who suffer from schizophrenia should not attempt to work through it alone. If they seek help, they can manage their symptoms and lead happy, productive lives. Symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- Hallucinations: Sensing or feeling something that isn’t happening (hearing voices, seeing people who aren’t there, etc.)
- Delusions: Irrational beliefs that are untrue (believing people are out to get them, feelings of grandeur like they are going to be the savior of the world)
- Thought disorder: Unusual or illogical ways of thinking (jumping erratically between thoughts, stopping in the middle of a thought and not continuing it)
- Movement disorder: Abnormal body movements (perhaps motions that they repeat over and over)
Those with untreated schizophrenia are also at risk of hurting themselves. Additionally, although most people with schizophrenia are not dangerous, untreated schizophrenia does pose a risk of harming others.
At the Mental Health Hotline, we have staff available to talk to clients about schizophrenia. In the past, schizophrenia was considered untreatable. Luckily, this is no longer the case. We are now capable and willing to help sufferers through treatment. Our hotline is here to help with your schizophrenia so that you won’t have to go through it alone.
If a Loved One Is Struggling
Not only is our hotline available for those who are actively suffering, but we also provide support and advice for those who know or fear someone they love is struggling. We can help you understand how to recognize when someone you know is actively in a mental health crisis, how to ask if they need help or advise them on seeking help, and how to be there for them. Most mental struggles are suffered in silence, but they don’t have to be. You can help your loved one through their struggles, and we can help you help them. Neither of you needs to go through it alone.
Our hotline can link our callers to helpful support groups. On our website, we can link you to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Rehab Hotline, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and more. Our goal is to help you through your mental health crisis in whatever way possible, even if that means directing you somewhere else. Your mental health is the most important thing.