Less stress, more happy in PDX

Marking Mental Illness Awareness Week in the Rose City

Woman in deep thought on couch

Statistics show that 100,000 or more Portlanders may suffer from a mental health issue. In fact, one in five, or more than 51 million adults in the United States, experience a mental illness in a given year. These can range from very common issues like depression and anxiety to more rare or more serious issues like schizophrenia.

Nearly one in 25 Americans currently lives with a serious mental illness, and half of all chronic mental illness begins at the age of 14. These numbers are eye-opening, and underscore the importance of working nonstop to ensure those with mental health issues receive the proper care and treatment. Help is always available for those who suffer in our city, whether a simple lifestyle change is called for or more rigorous, ongoing treatment.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a designated week every October for mental illness awareness. While doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic continuously work with patients and their families dealing with mental health to help them cope, heal and progress, this week is an excellent opportunity for all of us to focus on the warning signs and treatment options available. It is very important to recognize and understand the signs of mental health issues, for your own safety and to possibly assist friends, family, neighbors or colleagues who may be suffering.

While there are many stigmas related to mental illness, many mental health problems are associated with daily stress, transitions in life or other circumstances, including depression or unhealthy habits.

Understanding the patterns of your normal behavior and identifying any significant changes are the best ways to recognize if you or a loved one are suffering. Doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic encourage anyone concerned with their mental health to reach out to a professional for an evaluation. Additionally, respectfully reaching out to a friend or family member who you believe may be suffering is an equally important step in diagnosis. Some of the common warning signs of a mental health issue include:

  • Confused thinking
  • Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Strange thoughts (delusions)
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Substance abuse

The providers at The Portland Clinic want our neighbors to enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health ailment, we encourage you to schedule time to come speak with one of our clinicians. For more information about Mental Illness Awareness Week, visit nami.org.