May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Millions of people are affected by mental illness each year. In fact, 1 in 5 U.S adults experience mental illness, and approximately 17% of youth (ages 6-17 years) live with a mental health disorder. It’s important to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma that many people experience and to point them toward getting help.
We suggest calling the 24/7 Central Coast Hotline at
No one can say that we’ve all had it easy the past two years. In addition to our struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is something we continue to hear about. We have dealt with issues of isolation, severe illness, grieving, loss of jobs and more adding to the decline of mental health in our communities.
This month marks a good time to check in with ourselves and our families. It’s important to know the signs of mental illness and if seen, start by talking to a health professional. The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years. We at CHC want to empower people to help reduce this striking fact.
live with some form of mental illness
of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14
of all lifetime mental illness starts by age 24
Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community
LGBTQ+ youth experience mental illness and suicidality at higher rates than their heterosexual peers. Transgender youth are two times more likely than their cisgender peers to experience depression, consider suicide, or attempt suicide. For more information about support available for LGBTQ+ youth and allies, we encourage you to visit The Trevor Project, or you can quickly text “START” to 678-678, or simply call 1-866-488-7386.
Worried About Yourself Or Someone You Care About?
Are you or one of your family members currently struggling? If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to ask questions and to seek professional help. Try to understand what they’re experiencing and how their daily life is impacted. Making this connection is often the first step to getting treatment.
You can also start with your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician. This is the perfect place to begin the conversation about any sources of stress, stress levels and possible mental health concerns. A medical expert can advise your next steps including a conversation with a behavioral health expert.
Here are a few local & nationwide organizations that offer mental health services:
Common Warning Signs of Mental Illness
Diagnosing people with mental illness is not just a simple process or series of questions. It cannot be easily tested for in the same way a blood test is used to check for high cholesterol. Just as each person is unique, each condition will have its own group of unique signs or symptoms, though can overlap. Common signs/symptoms may include:
- Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Trying to harm or end one’s life or making plans to do so
- Severe, out-of-control, risk-taking behavior that causes harm to self or others
- Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or difficulty breathing
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Seeing, hearing or believing things that aren’t real*
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still
- Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
*Various communities and backgrounds might view this sign dierently based on their beliefs and experiences. Some people within these communities and cultures may not interpret hearing voices as unusual.
Download Helpful Resources
To aid you in identifying the common signs and finding help, you can download or print the helpful items below:
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis – PDF flyer (English y español)
Mental Health Crisis Hotline Phone Numbers – PDF card (English y español)