When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start way before Stage 4. We begin with prevention. And when people are in the first stage of those diseases, and have a persistent cough, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar, we try immediately to reverse these symptoms.
This is what we should be doing when people have serious mental illnesses, too. When they first begin to experience symptoms such as loss of sleep, feeling tired for no reason, feeling low, feeling anxious, or hearing voices, we should act.
Even when we don’t intervene right away, and serious mental illnesses get worse and disrupt people’s lives, we can act effectively. We can offer people choices and supports to help them recover. These include clinical services, drugs, peer supports, counseling, family supports, and other therapies that also help them manage their thoughts and emotions.
These all help keep people connected to their families and their community. Intervening as early as possible preserves education, employment, social supports, housing – and brain power!
Early Identification And Intervention
Catching mental health conditions early is known as Early Identification and Intervention.
However, many times people may not realize that their symptoms are being caused by a mental health condition or feel ashamed to pursue help because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
Even though mental illnesses may require intensive, long-term treatment and a lot of hard work at the later stages, people can and do recover and reclaim their lives. Remember, mental health conditions are not only common, they are treatable.
There is a wide variety of treatment options for mental illnesses ranging from talk therapy to medication to peer support, and it may take some time for a person to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that works best for them. But when they do, the results can be truly amazing and life changing.