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Importance of Speaking Up and Sharing What Mental Illness Feels Like

Importance of Speaking Up and Sharing What Mental Illness Feels Like

Free Screenings offered during May, Mental Health Month

When mental illnesses or disorders are talked about, the language typically used to describe them tends to be clinical and impersonal. These words, while useful for doctors or clinicians, often don’t do justice to what to what life with a mental illness feels like. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month ~ Life With a Mental Illness – is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.

The 2015 theme for Mental Health Month was B4Stage4. This theme helped individuals understand that when you address mental health symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.

In 2016, we are encouraging individuals to give voice to what it really means to live at stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 of mental illness. Life with a Mental Illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

“Mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. We need to speak up early – before Stage 4 – and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone,” said Richard McGee, Director of OMC Behavioral Healthcare. “Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and to showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”

This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to speak up about how it feels to live with a mental illness by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through – and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of mental illness.

Mental Health America has also developed a series of fact sheets available on its website ( on realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understanding what mental illness is and isn’t, and how and where to get help when needed.

Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. Speaking out about what mental illness feels like can encourage others to recognize symptoms early on in the disease process, and empower individuals to be agents in their own recovery.

OMC Behavioral Healthcare is offering free screenings in May in West Plains at the OMC Parkway Center. Community members may walk in between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday thru Friday. No appointment is needed. Screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and substance abuse are offered.

For more information about OMC Behavioral Healthcare or Mental Health Month free screenings, call 417-257-6762. See what others are saying at:

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