Since 1949, May has been dubbed Mental Health Month. The goal of the designation is to reach out to people through various venues offering help and education. AmeriBest is a home care service agency in Harrisburg, PA. As part of our commitment, we work hand-in-hand with families who need assistance navigating the tumultuous waters of understanding mental health and finding effective solutions for their loved ones.
The 2022 theme for Mental Health Month is “Back to the Basics.” After two years of living with the pandemic, many people find themselves feeling stressed, isolated, and uncertain about how to get back to some semblance of normal. This is doubly true for seniors whose support often had to remain separate due to social distancing. In-home caregiving services like those offered by AmeriBest, Harrisburg, filled some gaps by utilizing special protective uniforms so they could still be on the job.
Risks for Developing Mental Health Issues
When someone begins experiencing mental health issues, it probably has more than one root cause. Psychiatrists have created a list of risk factors for mental health. The more you have, the more likely you’re to experience one or more mental health conditions.
- Genetics: Think of your genes like a map of how your entire body grows and functions. That includes the brain. So if there is a history of mental health in your family, you may have a genetic predisposition. For example, if either or both of your parents had an anxiety disorder, your risk of developing the same disorder can increase by 6 times as much at the top end.
- Lifestyle: Your mom was right. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. It’s god for your body and mind. Should you develop a mental health problem, these simple things become coping mechanisms and helpmates.
- Social conditions: Where you live, work, and socialize all impact your quality of life. Individuals living in poverty, areas with high crime rates, and who have limited access to a healthy community environment illustrate more mental health problems. The amount of anxiety-centered conditions went up 20% because of isolation during Covid, for example.
- Trauma: This is a big category. For example, someone in your life may have had a stroke or car accident that created limitations. That’s trauma as is the death of a loved one, being bullied for extended periods, racism, and experiencing a disaster up close and personal.
The impact of trauma can remain with little notice until something triggers a memory. Then the world can come cascading down into a pool of tears and fears. Experiencing trauma as a child puts you at 1.3 times the risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood or senior years.
How can You Help?
If you are a caregiver for someone with mental health problems, even part-time, there are things you can do to help them. The most important is companionship. Loneliness is a huge factor in someone developing depression, and depression can impact other aging issues including dementia.
Motivation and intellectual activities go hand-in-hand with companionship. An idle mind is one prone to spiraling into negative thought-forms. When people are dealing with things like SAD there’s a tendency to want to simply give up. When you offer said person input at the right time and in the right way, it can make a huge improvement in their quality of life.
Now, not everyone has the capacity to step into this type of role. There’s a lot of responsibility including paying attention to the signs that mental health is on the decline. That’s the time to reach out. Any organization participating in Mental Health Month can get you started with more tools and know-how. Alternatively (or consecutively) you can call AmeriBest’s Harrisburg, PA office at 717-545-2920 and talk to one of our professionals.
One of the core principles of professional aid services is helping the entire family. People don’t realize that their personal mental health can be adversely impacted by a loved one’s struggles. Ours is a holistic approach. You can email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use our online form for more information.