Mental illness is a term used to describe a wide range of disorders that have an impact on our thoughts, feelings and/or behavior. Mental illness is not a character flaw, weakness or something inherently wrong with a person—it is an illness like any other and a person has a right to seek appropriate treatment as well as care and support through their illness.
When speaking about mental illness, oftentimes people wonder if it has been passed down in their family. Though some mental illnesses may be wholly or partially inherited, a person may inherit a gene but not experience the symptoms, or they may not inherit that particular gene even though a parent or grandparent did carry it. Some mental illnesses are caused by biological changes that aren’t genetic, while others are often the result of drugs, difficult life circumstances and stress. Environmental factors such as excessive stress and substance abuse can play a part by altering the brain’s chemistry, and an individual’s personality can also influence the way they react to life events.
Overall, mental illness seems to be caused by a combination of factors that are unique to each person.
“When placed in situations of unremitting stress, a person who is born with a genetic propensity to bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia may in fact develop the disease. The same is true for those who are susceptible to asthma, heart disease, or cancer.” Rosalyn Carter (2010), Within Our Reach – Ending the Mental Health Crisis.
According to Dr. Gregory Fricchione at Massachusetts General Hospital, “The key to managing stress is resiliency.”
Ten Health and Resiliency Factors
- Healthy Eating
- Physical Activity
- Restful Sleep
- Stress Management
- Service to Others
- Support Network
- Optimism Based on Positive Expectations
- Cognitive Skills to Avoid Negative Thinking
- Meaning and Purpose
Information provided by the Mental Health Association NSW, Inc. (http://www.mentalhealth.asn.au/)
If you were unable to attend the Rose Hill Fair and purchase a Rose Hill rose bush, you will have another opportunity to do so and, at the same time, benefit the patients and programs of Rose Hill Center. These rose bushes, which are ready to take home and plant in your garden, will be sold at Holy Name Catholic Church this Saturday, May 18 at the conclusion of the 4 pm mass and Sunday, May 19 at the conclusion of the 8am mass and will remain there until after the noon mass. Volunteers will be selling the roses in the parking lot at the back entrance of Holy Name Parish, 630 Harmon St, Birmingham. Cultivated with love by the Rose Hill residents, the cost of each rose bush is $30 and proceeds are benefitting the horticulture program and therapeutic activities at Rose Hill. We hope you can make it! Continue to visit Rose Hill’s website and facebook for more information on additional rose sales in this area.
A serious mental illness is not just about one person. Everyone in the family is impacted.
As a loved one changes right before their eyes, family members may begin to feel like they don’t even know this person anymore and they can’t understand what is happening. They lurch from crisis to crisis, spending time, money and emotional energy trying to help a sick family member who often does not recognize the mental illness or want to be “helped.” The family finds it cannot celebrate like it used to, and family gatherings are dreaded out of fear that some disaster may happen.
Even today, in our sophisticated culture, there is a stigma about admitting that someone in the family has a serious mental illness. And yet, all through the maze of hospitalizations, medications, and mental illness treatment programs; throughout encouraging years and discouraging seasons; during good days and bad, through highs and lows, the serious mental illness is always there…for everyone in the family.
So what can your family do when someone has a serious mental illness? First, seek out the many support groups that are available to help cope with and understand this very perplexing illness. And then persevere until you find the mental illness treatment program that your loved one needs and deserves. Of course, Rose Hill provides a highly effective residential mental illness treatment program. Rose Hill Center is a member of ARTA (American Residential Treatment Association) and a list of other residential treatment programs can be found on their website www.artausa.org