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Mental Health Month

Published: Monday, May 27, 2013 1:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 27, 2013 2:35 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON – Across the nation, May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.

During this time, bigger strides are made to further assist those who suffer from a mental health condition including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and more.

Therapist Mike Lau of the North Central Behavioral Health Services said if a family member or friend identifies one suffering from a mental illness or substance abuse-related disorder, the first step is to be there and listen.

“In addition, being non-judgemental regarding what the individual is going through is important,” he said. “Contacting a mental health or substance abuse professional if the loved one is agreeable can also be an important step.”

The warning signs for mental illness vary with each person, however, if symptoms start to affect an individual’s life, such as with family relationships or work or school environment, these may be the warning signs that something is going on, said Lau.

To prevent a problem from emerging, communication with family and friends and educating oneself about mental conditions can help.

“Sometimes individuals are genetically predisposed to mental illness or substance abuse problems, which means there is a greater likelihood at some point in their life they are going to suffer from a mental illness or substance abuse problem,” he said. “Other times the environment can play a huge role in the development of a mental illness or substance abuse problems.”

An important fact to highlight and note about mental health care is the continuing lack of funding from the state and federal government.

Despite there being an increase in the number of those reaching out for help and acknowledging they are suffering, the care for them continues to be cut from the governor’s budget year after year, according to Lau.   

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