By Guadalupe Barriga
Let’s take the time in May to raise awareness for mental illnesses and support our loved ones who need help to overcome their struggles.
May has been recognized as the Mental Health Awareness Month where organizations, hospitals, schools, local events and films raise awareness to show their support.
Millions of people suffer from one or more mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.
As a society we need to understand some people do not have the same mental strength we have to continue to live every day.
It is important to reach out to the people we know may be suffering from one of these mental illnesses.
They may need someone to talk to or possibly professional help to reduce the trauma of past experiences.
Most people who suffer from a mental illness do not talk about it, making it harder for the people around them to recognize if they need help.
Therefore it is important to pay attention to details like mood swings, lack of energy, being sad most of the time, alcohol/drug abuse, anger issues and most importantly suicidal thoughts.
If you know someone who may show any of these symptoms reach out to get them the appropriate help.
My mother has lived with anxiety for years. She takes medicine every day to control it, but there are days she can’t do it.
Her anxiety takes over and during those days she shuts down completely.
All she wants to do is sleep and when it gets really bad her head feels numb which worries my whole family since numbness can be a symptom of a stroke.
As her daughter, I hate to see her like that because I can’t understand what she feels, and it makes me feel useless.
The whole family tries to cheer her up to make her feel there is something to look forward to.
My personal experience has taught me to be strong to help my mother overcome her fears. I encourage people to look out for their loved ones regardless of age.
We live in a society where children also suffer from mental illnesses that can lead to suicide.
Especially after a long year of isolation because of a pandemic, many people have been affected emotionally with stress, isolation and fear.
The month of May can be a start for many people who need help with their mental illness.
UCLA is providing Screening and Treatment for Anxiety & Depression (STAND) at ELAC for students who meet certain eligibility criteria.
Students will be given a five minute survey, the tool will automatically score the student’s responses and will give feedback based on the answers.
Students must keep in mind the feedback is for informational purposes and not a proper diagnosis.
Based on the student’s responses; STAND will recommend three different programs: Wellness Program, Digital Therapy, Coaching and Clinical Care.
These kinds of programs will help students get professional help to overcome their mental struggles.
If students need help or know someone who needs help visit stand.ucla.edu for eligibility.