While some envious northerners may think our Treasure Coast community is “living the dream,” the truth is Floridians are susceptible to the same mental health illnesses the entire country grapples with. Having a beach nearby doesn’t offer immunity from issues stemming from money, relationships, personal crises, anxiety, PTSD, depression, etc.
Florida Mental Health Facts
In February 2021, 40.8% of Florida adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.
648,000 Florida adults have a serious mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness
May is Mental health awareness month. It is “an opportunity for us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background or ability. We want every person out there to know that if all you did was wake up today, that’s more than enough. No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough.” National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Be Alert of The Warning Signs
Symptoms for mental illness can be unique, as well as overlap one another. Common signs and/or symptoms can include:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Severe, out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that causes harm to self or others
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or dfficultulty breathing
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
- Trying to harm or end one’s life or making plans to do so
Are you concerned about someone you care about?
If you notice any of the warning signs, or symptoms, it’s important to ask questions.
Try to understand what they’re experiencing and how their daily life is impacted.
Making this connection is often the first step to getting treatment.
Concerned about yourself?
If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. And recovery can be a reality.
- Need immediate help in a crisis? Call 911 if there is immediate danger.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Connect with friends and loved ones.
- Speak with a mental health professional. You can find one through many resources, like your insurance company and state, or county, agencies. For details on our clinic, click here. We are not yet open and cannot provide immediate assistance.
- To locate treatment facilities or providers, visit FindTreatment.gov or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
- Were compiling a list of Saint Lucie County resources if you need assistance with housing, family support, safe spaces, etc. Click here to go to our resources page.
What are some good ways to stay mentally healthy during times of crisis?
One of the best things you can do is to practice self-compassion. Be nice to yourself. Ideas for this include:
- Remain hopeful. Find things to be grateful about. You could start a gratitude journal, or keep notes in a gratitude jar.
- Get the facts but monitor the time you spend watching the news,
- Eat healthy and exercise – find a way to make small changes such as eating less of the “bad food” or going on walks.
- Focus on what you can do to stay prepared.
- Be fun and creative while at home (e.g., dance, listen to music, small house projects, journaling).
- Setting a routine/structure to the day can combat boredom.
- Do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs to deal with your feelings.
Your Mental Health Does Affect Your Physical Health
Stress is normal for our bodies; however, we are generally able to recover from short periods of stress. But stress that continues over a long period of time places more strain to our health.
Mental stress can impact the immune system in many different ways and increase physical illness.
During May, we’ll be highlighting mental health awareness, sharing information, stories, and resources. You deserve to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Mental Health Awareness Month is a wonderful time to reflect on ways to help yourself, and those we love, feel more connected, cared for, and content.