This past year has been full of major life events for me. I was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis, gave up alcohol (12 months and counting), my dad died after a decade long battle with Alzheimers, planning his funeral, having another baby, my brother’s diagnosis of lymphoma, and we still have another couple weeks to go before the year is over. Add my, on and off again, struggle with depression and anxiety; you have the potential to fall into a really dark place.
There have been low points and long stretches of emotional pain but it’s also been a year of deep reflection and processing. My saving grace has been all of the emotional work I’ve done, and continue to, on my mental health. I can’t even imagine what mental space I would be in, if I didn’t pursue a mental health professional in my early twenties.
My changing perspective on life has me looking at the big picture and prioritizing what’s really important. It also has me wondering why I’ve achieved financial success and others struggle. I’m no different or more talented than the average person. Sure, I’ve developed some important skills to further my career, because I am open-minded about learning and put in the work, but I feel anybody can.
So what is the difference? I’ve come to realize it’s the lack of mental health.
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
- An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
- Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition
- Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year
- Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
“Part of the problem is that people with mental illness have a harder time navigating the complex healthcare industry to begin with, says Weissman; they also have a harder time holding a job and keeping a steady income.”
I’m no mental health expert and couldn’t explain all of the sociological, cultural, environmental, and technological factors that contribute to this growing problem in our country.
I do know, getting help saved my life and has led me to a more well adjusted life and stable career.
Part of the problem in our country is that many don’t have easy access to mental health professionals but I promise you it’s worth jumping through hoops to get the help that you need.
In order for you to achieve financial and professional success; you need a strong foundation, and to understand why you make the decisions you do. You also need healthy coping skills to go through this thing we call life.
A mental health professional can help you recognize negative patterns of behavior and develop strategies to avoid them.
Get help in avoiding your negative patterns and make better decisions.