The month of May is Mental Health Month, and in an effort to promote mental health and reduce stigma around mental illness, we are focusing on the risk factors you need to know.

Most people recognize common warning signs of mental illness, such as emotional distress, change in appetite or sleep, and social withdrawal. However, some risk factors are less obvious and very important to be aware of.

Some lesser known risk factors for mental illness include:

1. Internet addiction: Being constantly glued to a screen may be the norm in our society, but it is possible to become addicted to the internet. Signs of unhealthy internet use include: being unable to cut down on screen time and strong compulsions to be online at all times.

2. Excessive spending: Individuals who engage in compulsive buying are inclined to spend every penny that they have, buy items that they cannot afford, and overdraw their bank accounts buying items they do not need.

3. Troublesome exercise patterns: Exercise can be troubling when it becomes extreme – either not enough or too much. Signs of too much exercise include neglecting personal or professional responsibilities in order to workout, or continuing to exercise despite an injury.

4. Marijuana Use: Although marijuana is often prescribed to treat diseases such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, there is evidence that marijuana use is a risk factor for developing certain types of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia.

5. Head injuries: Experiencing a head injury, especially during adolescence, increases risk of developing mental illnesses later in life.According to Mental Health America, one in five adults in the US has a mental illness. However, over 60% of those individuals in New York do not receive treatment, often because they are not diagnosed. Always be aware of the risk factors for mental illness, and reach out to a doctor if you recognize repeated warning signs.Key Takeaways:

  • New York has one of the highest rates of untreated mental illness in the country.
  • Always remain aware of risk factors that can indicate mental illness, including: internet addiction, excessive spending, poor exercise habits, marijuana use, head injuries.
  • Identifying risk factors early can lead to a better prognosis.
  • A health advisor can help you create a custom plan to find mental health care.

Better health means taking a holistic approach to healthcare; this includes creating a medical team that can attend to both your physical and mental health. Fortunately, Better Health Advisor’s custom approach to wellness can help identify your particular risk factors for mental illness, and create a plan to ensure prompt treatment and an improved diagnosis.