As we spring into May, we also have the chance to take time out of the year to recognize and celebrate Mental Health Month. Since the late 1940s, the organization Mental Health America has rallied support and raising awareness for mental health issues that face millions of people around the world. This year, Mental Health Month focuses on risky behaviors or habits that could negatively affect those living with mental illness. Can you relate to any of these “risky businesses”?

What are risky habits?

Certain risky behaviors can give mental health professionals, or concerned family or friends, a glimpse into the life of someone living with mental illness. Certain behaviors can indicate a mental illness or an underlying contributing concern, or these habits can exacerbate mental illness and demonstrate ineffective or unhealthy coping skills. These risky behaviors can range from abusing drugs to poor nutritional decisions. While each behavior can be unique from person to person, there are a few behaviors that people living with mental illness, advocates, friends, and professionals should keep an eye out for.

Too much…

When it comes to risky behaviors, they can typically fall into two categories: too much or too little. In the “too much” category, it can be unhealthy for someone living with mental illness to begin spending too much time online, spending too much money on shopping sprees, abusing too many recreational drugs, or even exercising too much. These risky behaviors that dabble in the excess can indicate a mental illness or can possibly show a lack of healthy coping skills.

Too little…

Just as doing too much of something may indicate a problem, so can doing too little of others. For those living with mental illness, getting too little sleep can be catastrophic and cause a set back. Similarly, taking too little prescription medication without a doctor’s guidance can lead to mood swings or other unhealthy side effects.

If you are living with mental illness, you already know how importance balance is in your health plan. Assuring you get enough sleep, take the correct amount of prescription medication, and avoiding ,excessive behaviors are important to staying healthy. If you are concerned that you are doing too many “risky business” behaviors and are craving that balance, be sure to find the local support you need to succeed.

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