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A springtime focus on mental health

Sunny skies in Portland provide one of many ways to improve our mental health

Happy young woman in field

At least one in five Portlanders will experience a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and nearly every American will have a friend or family member who’s affected by mental illness. From the way we think to the way we act, our mental health and the mental health of our community have a significant impact on our daily lives, which is why it is so important to recognize and seek help for mental health challenges.

Whether suffering from anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, stress or psychosis, mental health touches a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from mild to severe. Tens of thousands of our neighbors have mental health issues annually, and often the warning signs are ignored or misunderstood. It is important that all Portlanders are aware of those warning signs and the treatments available.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, The Portland Clinic staff have compiled some resources to help our neighbors better understand how they can identify and combat mental health issues. To start, take a few minutes to listen to Facebook Live Chat with Director of Behavioral Health Pat Blumenthal, PsyD. You can also find more on the symptoms and patterns associated with prevalent mental health issues here.

While it may be difficult to address with a friend or family member, if you have concerns about your mental health or that of a person close to you, reaching out to a professional or directly to the person you believe is struggling is an important first step. Be on the lookout for the following warning signs of mental illness:

  • 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

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic encourage you to schedule time to come speak with one of our behavioral health providers. For more information about Mental Health Awareness Month, visit nami.org.