Risky Business Mental Health Month theme highlights importance of recognizing unhealthy behaviors


When you or someone you love is living with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame, and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support, and living well.

May is Mental Health Month, a month meant to educate and remind the public that seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of. Hunt Regional is encouraging people to educate themselves about behaviors and activities that could be harmful to recovery—and to speak up without shame.

People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying, and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

Understanding early symptoms of mental illness can help you to know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more. People experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently. Some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Risky Business. Sometimes people struggling with mental health concerns, especially young people, develop habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

One in five Americans live with a mental health condition. We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness in a compassionate, judgment-free way. Engaging in prevention and early identification reduces the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms early and providing effective treatment Before Stage 4.

Recovery is always the goal, and Hunt Regional wants to help families reach that goal. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hunt County hosts a free monthly support group for family members and caregivers of individuals with mental illness. The meetings are facilitated by trained NAMI members and allow family members to talk freely about their challenges and help one another through shared experiences. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the sixth floor boardroom of Hunt Regional Medical Center.

To learn more about Hunt Regional’s inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services, visit www.huntregional.org/behavioralhealth.

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