The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay


Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

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Examples of signs and symptoms include:The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

When to see a doctor

If you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness, see your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, a mental illness may get worse over time and cause serious problems.

If you have suicidal thoughts

Suicidal thoughts and behavior are common with some mental illnesses. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right away:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Call your mental health specialist.
  • Call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat on
  • Seek help from your primary care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are increasingly being used as if they mean the same thing, but they do not. Everyone has mental health, just like everyone has health. As the World Health Organization famously says, “There is no health without mental health.” In the course of a lifetime, not all people will experience a mental illness, but everyone will struggle or have a challenge with their mental well-being (i.e., their mental health) just like we all have challenges with our physical well-being from time to time.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

When we talk about mental health, we’re talking about our mental well-being: our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our understanding of the world around us.

A mental illness is an illness the affects that way people think, feel, behave, or interact with others. There are many different mental illnesses, and they have different symptoms that impact peoples’ lives in different ways.

Health isn’t like an on/off switch. There are different degrees of health. People move on a continuum ranging from great or good health to so-so health to poor health to illness or disability. For example, some people have good health and have no problems going about their lives. Some people experience serious health problems, and their poor health has a very negative impact on their life. Some people have serious health problems that last for a long time, and others have serious health problems that resolve very quickly. Many people fall somewhere in the middle—they’re generally in good health, though the occasional problem may come up. Mental health is the same way.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Just as someone who feels unwell may not have a serious illness, people may have poor mental health without a mental illness. We all have days where we feel a bit down, or stressed out, or overwhelmed by something that’s happening in our lives. An important part of good mental health is the ability to look at problems or concerns realistically. Good mental health isn’t about feeling happy and confident 100% of time and ignoring any problems. It’s about living and coping well despite problems.

Just as it’s possible to have poor mental health but no mental illness, it’s entirely possible to have good mental health even with a diagnosis of a mental illness. That’s because mental illnesses (like other health problems) are often episodic, meaning there are times (‘episodes’) of ill health and times of better or good health.

Low treatment rates imperil workers’ careers and companies’ productivity.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Mental health problems affect many employees — a fact that is usually overlooked because these disorders tend to be hidden at work. Researchers analyzing results from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.

But the stigma attached to having a psychiatric disorder is such that employees may be reluctant to seek treatment — especially in the current economic climate — out of fear that they might jeopardize their jobs. At the same time, managers may want to help but aren’t sure how to do so. And clinicians may find themselves in unfamiliar territory, simultaneously trying to treat a patient while providing advice about dealing with the illness at work.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

As a result, mental health disorders often go unrecognized and untreated — not only damaging an individual’s health and career, but also reducing productivity at work. Adequate treatment, on the other hand, can alleviate symptoms for the employee and improve job performance. But accomplishing these aims requires a shift in attitudes about the nature of mental disorders and the recognition that such a worthwhile achievement takes effort and time.

Here’s a quick guide to the most common mental health problems in the workplace, and how they affect both employees and employers.

Key points
Symptoms of mental health disorders may be different at work than in other situations.

Although these disorders may cause absenteeism, the biggest impact is in lost productivity.

Studies suggest that treatment improves work performance, but is not a quick fix.

Stealth symptoms, tangible impact
Symptoms of common problems — such as depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety — are all described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). But symptoms tend to manifest differently at work than they do at home or in other settings.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Although symptoms may go unnoticed, the economic consequences are tangible. Studies assessing the full work impact of mental health disorders often use the World Health Organization (WHO) Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, which not only asks employees to report how many days they called in sick, but also asks them to assess, on a graded scale, how productive they were on the days they actually were at work. The results are measured in days out of work (absenteeism) and lost productivity (“presenteeism”).

In one study examining the financial impact of 25 chronic physical and mental health problems, researchers polled 34,622 employees at 10 companies. The researchers tabulated the amount of money the companies spent on medical and pharmacy costs for employees, as well as employees’ self-reported absenteeism and lost productivity, using the WHO questionnaire.

When researchers ranked the most costly health conditions (including direct and indirect costs), depression ranked first, and anxiety ranked fifth — with obesity, arthritis, and back and neck pain in between.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Many of the studies in this field have concluded that the indirect costs of mental health disorders — particularly lost productivity — exceed companies’ spending on direct costs, such as health insurance contributions and pharmacy expenses. Given the generally low rates of treatment, the researchers suggest that companies should invest in the mental health of workers — not only for the sake of the employees but to improve their own bottom line.

Depression is the mental health disorder that has been best studied in the workplace, partly because it is so common in the general population. One survey of a nationally representative sample reported that about 6% of employees experience symptoms of depression in any given year.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Although the DSM-IV lists low mood as the defining symptom of depression, in the workplace this disorder is more likely to manifest in behaviors — such as nervousness, restlessness, or irritability — and in physical complaints, such as a preoccupation with aches and pains. In addition, employees may become passive, withdrawn, aimless, and unproductive. They also may be fatigued at work, partly as a result of the mood disorder or because they are having trouble sleeping at night. Depression may also impair judgment or cloud decision making.

Researchers who analyzed employee responses to the WHO questionnaire found that workers with depression reported the equivalent of 27 lost work days per year — nine of them because of sick days or other time taken out of work, and another 18 reflecting lost productivity. Other research has found that employees with depression are more likely than others to lose their jobs and to change jobs frequently.

Part of the problem may be lack of treatment. In one study, only 57% of employees with symptoms of major depression said they had received mental health treatment in the previous 12 months. Of those in treatment, fewer than half — about 42% — were receiving treatment considered adequate, on the basis of how consistent it was with published guidelines about minimal standards of care. The researchers estimated that over all, when lack of treatment or inadequate treatment was taken into account, only about one in four employees with major depression received adequate treatment for the disorder.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by cycling between elevated (manic) and depressed moods. In a manic phase, employees may appear highly energetic and creative, but actual productivity may suffer. And during full-blown mania, a person may become self-aggrandizing or disruptive, flout workplace rules, be overly aggressive, and make mistakes in judgment (such as overspending a budget). During the depressive phase, an employee may exhibit depressive symptoms as described above. Although mania may be more noticeable at work, the research suggests that the depressive phase of bipolar disorder can impair performance more than the manic phase.

One nationally representative study estimated that about 1% of American employees suffer from bipolar disorder in any year. Based on employee responses to the WHO questionnaire, the researchers estimated that employees with bipolar disorder lost the equivalent of about 28 work days per year from sick time and other absences, and another 35 in lost productivity. The authors note that although bipolar disorder may be more disabling to employees on an individual level, the cost to employers is still less than that attributed to depression, because the latter is more common in the population.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

In a departure from findings about treatment rates for other mental health disorders, about two-thirds of employees with bipolar disorder said they had received treatment for it. But the likelihood of receiving adequate care depended on the type of clinician they saw. Only about 9% of those who sought care from general practitioners received care in keeping with published guidelines for bipolar disorder, compared with 45% of those who sought care from mental health professionals.

Anxiety disorders in the workplace may manifest as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and excess worrying. Employees may require constant reassurance about performance. Sometimes, as with depression, physical symptoms or irritability may be noticeable.

Anxiety disorders affect about 6% of the population at some point in life, but typically go undiagnosed for 5 to 10 years. And only about one in three individuals with a diagnosed disorder receives treatment for it. At the same time, the studies suggest that people with anxiety disorders are more likely than others to seek out medical care — but for problems like gastrointestinal distress, sleep disturbances, or heart trouble rather than for anxiety.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

It is probably not surprising, then, that anxiety disorders cause significant work impairment. Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, results in work impairment (as measured by sick days and lost productivity) similar to that attributed to major depression.

ADHD is often considered a problem only in childhood, but it also affects adults. An international survey in 10 countries (including the United States) estimated that 3.5% of employees have ADHD. In the workplace, symptoms of ADHD may manifest as disorganization, failure to meet deadlines, inability to manage workloads, problems following instructions from supervisors, and arguments with co-workers.


Workplace performance — and the employee’s career — may suffer. Studies estimate that people with ADHD may lose 22 days per year (a combination of sick days and lost productivity), compared with people without the disorder. In addition, people with ADHD are 18 times as likely to be disciplined for behavior or other work problems, and likely to earn 20% to 40% less money than others. They are also two to four times as likely as other employees to be terminated from a job.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Treatment rates among employees with ADHD are especially low. In the United States, for example, only 13% of workers with ADHD reported being treated for this condition in the previous 12 months.

An investment in health
The literature on mental health problems in the workplace suggests that the personal toll on employees — and the financial cost to companies — could be eased if a greater proportion of workers who need treatment were able to receive it. The authors of such studies advise employees and employers to think of mental health care as an investment — one that’s worth the up-front time and cost.

Most of the research on the costs and benefits of treatment has been done on employees with depression. The studies have found that when depression is adequately treated, companies reduce job-related accidents, sick days, and employee turnover, as well as improve the number of hours worked and employee productivity.

But the research also suggests that treatment for depression is not a quick fix. Although adequate treatment alleviates symptoms and improves productivity, one study found that in the short term, employees may need to take time off to attend clinical appointments or reduce their hours in order to recover.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

To overcome barriers to accessing care, and to make it more affordable to companies, the National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring the Work Outcomes Research and Cost Effectiveness Study at Harvard Medical School. The researchers have published results from a randomized, controlled trial of telephone screening and depression care management for workers at 16 large companies, representing a variety of industries.

During the two-phase study, mental health clinicians employed by an insurance company identified workers who might need treatment, provided information about how to access it, monitored adherence to treatment, and provided telephone psychotherapy to those workers who did not want to see a therapist in person. The outcomes of 304 workers assigned to the intervention were compared with 300 controls, who were referred to clinicians for treatment but did not receive telephone support.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

The researchers found that workers assigned to the telephone intervention reported significantly improved mood and were more likely to keep their jobs when compared with those in the control group. They also improved their productivity, equivalent to about 2.6 hours of extra work per week, worth about $1,800 per year (based on average wages) — while the intervention cost the employers an estimated $100 to $400 per treated employee. The researchers are conducting additional research on how to improve access to mental health care in the workplace, and to quantify costs and benefits for employers.

Hospital Overview
Oasis Mental Health Hospital is made up of a team comprising psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses and spiritual counsellors working together to promote all round quality care for patients. We have a fully equipped in-patient and outpatient facility called Oasis Health Speciality Hospital located on Peponi road, 10 mins from Sarit Center and just 2 kilometres past Oilybia Petrol Station. This facility provides a homely tranquil environment where patients feel relaxed and at home while they receive therapy.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

The facility offers an innovative integrated full service addressing every need associated with mental health. This includes psychiatric, psychological, therapeutic and social aspects of a patient. The facility has a multidisciplinary team of highly qualified mental health specialists and therapists who are leaders in their fields of expertise and allow the hospital to deliver quality, evidence-based treatments in outpatient, day patient and inpatient settings.

Some of the services offered include but are not limited to: General Psychiatry, Addiction Management, Specialized Psychiatry, Counselling and Psych-Social Support, Training and Mentoring, Rehabilitation among others.

Mental Illness is treated as taboo. We often see mentally ill people on news and TV
shows who commit violent crimes and hurt others. There’s this unshakeable negative light on
them in most media. Theatre, on the other hand, places people with mental illness in the
spotlight. There’s a warmer, more positive view that gives the mentally ill their humanity back.
The audience can relate to them as fellow people. This thesis project hopes to explore these
viewpoints and analyze how theatre influences its audience on the topic of mental illnesses. The
biggest obstacle in understanding people with mental illness is education. This section will focus
on the history of mental illness, its perception, and why it is even worth discussing.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay
Mental illness healthcare has a long and unpleasant history. Isolation and mistreatment
have plagued these individuals from the beginning. Prior to the late 1700s, these people were
considered mad, kept in dungeons, and chained to the walls. Their humanity was blatantly
ignored. In the late 1700s, Phillippe Pinel, a French doctor, forbade the use of chains and other
cruel restraints at the Bicêtre insane asylum. He gave them access to sunny rooms and space to
exercise. Unfortunately, his asylum was the exception to the norm. In the 1840s, Dorothea Dix, a
U.S. reformer, documented mistreatment of the mentally ill in Massachusetts where she saw
people locked up without light, heat, or toilets with evidence of being chained up and beaten. Dix
fought for the establishment of state hospitals and spread knowledge of this problem. It is not
until the early 20th century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung developed a treatment called
“talking cures” for the mentally ill. This was the advent of psychoanalytical therapy sessions for
those with neurotic disorders. In 1908, Clifford Beers published A Mind that Found Itself in
which he documented his three-year experience in as a patient in an institution for the care of the
mentally ill. Beers, a Yale graduate, suffered from depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and
attempted suicide by jumping from his bedroom window. He was hospitalized at three different
institutions in Connecticut where he was abused physically and mentally. After his
autobiography was published with these details and a call to reform, the reader response was
immediate. What made this event so influential while others had been exposing these
institutions’ malpractice years before Beers’ book? Readers responded to the full disclosure of
Beers regarding the seriousness of his illness and related to him as a fellow human. This insider
view gave those without mental illness an opportunity to empathize and advocate for those
suffering. The National Committee for Mental Hygiene was founded as a direct result of Beers’
platform. Giving the mentally ill a voice is so important and Beers’ book marked the very
beginning of this phenomenon.
The National Committee for Mental Hygiene, established in 1909, initiated legal reforms
for mental health care, awarded grants for research to the causes of mental illness, and raised
public awareness through new publications on the topic. But, the problem was far from solved.
Drugs, electrotherapy, and invasive operations were still being used to treat severe illnesses.
Research was just beginning. In 1946, Harry Truman passed the National Mental Health Act
which boosted research into the most effective treatment plans for patients. As awareness
increased, so did the patient admission rates. European and American mental health institution
population was at its highest in the 1950s as behavior therapy emerged to train the human mind
to overcome smaller mental illnesses such as phobias. However, a few steps forward often result
in one step back. In 1961, Thomas Szasz published The Myth of Mental Illness which is the most
famous spark of the anti-psychiatry movement. Szasz argued that illnesses of the mind do not
exist and the term “mental illness” is inherently incoherent since the medical and psychological
concepts are incompatible. This idea brought back many religious ideas of hysteria as immorality
from before the 1700s. Szasz viewed madness as a moral issue rather than a medical issue.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay
Erving Goffman, another great influence in the anti-psychiatry movement, criticized mental
health institutions saying they do not effectively simulate real world life. He argued that in the
artificially created social environment of a “total institution”, patients lose possession of their
role in the world. Goffman’s impact, along with Szasz and many others, led to the removal of
many mentally ill patients from institutions. Deinstitutionalization led to a rising need for
community-based mental health services. The Community Mental Health Centers Construction
Act of 1963 marked the first time the federal government provided monetary support for the
mentally ill. The treatment became voluntary, which sounds respectable in theory, but many
severely mentally ill patients do not have the ability to seek help for themselves. But, antipsychotic drugs continue to improve and became more available as research continues despite
the change in environment for the mentally ill.
Perception of the mentally ill has remained problematic throughout history. Views of
hysteria in women due to their sex, or studies investigating schizophrenia stemming from people
of African descent are both incredibly prejudiced understandings of mental illness, fed by
ignorance and misunderstanding of people. This misunderstanding leads to isolation of the
individual. An estimated 25% of homeless people suffer from a severe mental illness, according
to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder are especially frequent among the homeless population, which are among the most
isolated. A study by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that “news stories
often link violence with mental health illness, even though people with mental health illnesses
are rarely violent”. Over the past twenty years, top-tier media outlets continue to portray
mentally ill people with violence. Leader of the study, Beth McGinty says, “Anyone who kills
people is not mentally healthy. We can all agree on that. But it’s not necessarily true that they
have a diagnosable illness. They may have anger or emotional issues, which can be clinically
separate from a diagnosis of mental illness. Violence may stem from alcohol or drug use, issues
related to poverty or childhood abuse. But these elements are rarely discussed. And as a result,
coverage is skewed toward assuming mental illness first.” Obviously, this leads to a strong
public perception that people with schizophrenia are violent. To quote Blue/Orange, a play about
a patient with schizophrenia, “If people get the word wrong- if people just get the meaning of the
word wrong, how can they get the person right?” Harmful stigmas are formed by this negative
representation in the news. A stigma, as defined in John Macionis’ textbook, Sociology, has
characteristics that discredit people (i.e. blindness, deafness, mental disability). Stigmas
“blemish” and discredit a person’s claim to a “normal” identity. Theatre helps balance out the
playing field in this sense. For example, Blue/Orange, the play that will be thoroughly discussed
in Section 2 of this essay, centers around a black patient with schizophrenia in a mental
institution in the 20th century. Through the observational method, the audience sees the
juxtaposition and reversal of identity and stigma. We see two white doctors stigmatize the patient
for his African decent while they identify him by his mental illness. In a perfect world, his race
would be part of his identity and his mental illness would just be a condition, monitored and
treated. Stigma would be thrown out the window. Through this play, we see the corruption and
problematic nature of stigmatizing, and a more accurate representation of schizophrenia than
many top-tier new outlets.
Of course, there are pros and cons to staging mental illness in theatre. Some pros, as
already discussed, are erasing stigmas and increasing representation for these individuals.
Diverging from the violent mentally ill character is a way theatre separates itself from mass
media. Theatre, in general, takes subjects that are “a little difficult to digest” and eats them up.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay
Many successful shows in theatre accept any possible state existing in another person’s life
experience and make the audience sympathetic to that possibility. Raising awareness and
encouraging education is an incredibly beneficial way to make a difference in societal views and
beliefs. However, theatre has a significantly smaller audience than mass media, television, and
movies. Joe Penhall, playwright of Blue/Orange, says, “As for trying to generate any kind of
change, I don’t know that it does in the short term. In the long term, theatre, like film, music and
all the art forms, does have a very slow, gradual effect on our society. […] People see films of
theatre and hear music, and they do start to think about it, and the status quo begins to change. It
doesn’t change the whole society, only a very small minority that goes to the theatre. But it does
change those people and maybe, when talking about it, they change other people.” So, there is
hope for this societal change born from theatre, but it is a slow process. Also, theatre-goers have
a reputation to over-accept the absurd. They are quick to suspend disbelief as to fully appreciate
the art-form. For example, audience members leaving Blue/Orange said, “What’s so fascinating
is that he [Christopher] might not be schizophrenic,” to which Penhall responded, “That’s liberal
wishful thinking: he really is sick” and “The idea that the mad are sane and the sane are mad is a
cliché.” Penhall makes a great point here to establish the legitimacy of schizophrenia. His
character really is sick and he really is treated awfully. If the audience analyzes the play too
abstractly and metaphorically, they lose the overall message in the process.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the following recommendations and conclusions:

At least one in five youth aged 9–17 years currently has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes some degree of impairment; one in 10 has a disorder that causes significant impairment.

The most common mental illnesses in adolescents are anxiety, mood, attention, and behavior disorders.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15–24 years.

Obstetrician–gynecologists who see adolescent patients are highly likely to see adolescents and young women who have one or more mental health disorders.The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

Adolescents with mental illness often engage in acting-out behavior or substance use, which increase their risk of unsafe sexual behavior that may result in pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Adolescents with psychiatric disorders may be taking psychopharmacologic agents that can cause menstrual dysfunction and galactorrhea.

Pregnant adolescents who take psychopharmacologic agents present a special challenge in balancing the potential risks of fetal harm with the risks of inadequate treatment.

During preventive care visits, all adolescents should be screened for any mental health disorder in a confidential setting (if allowed by the laws of that locality).

The obstetrician–gynecologist has the opportunity to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mental health disorders in adolescents by early identification, prompt referral, and care coordination. The Most Ignored Signs of Mental Illness Essay

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