4 P.M. INTERVIEW: Mental Health Awareness Month

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In a recent Community Health Needs Assessment survey, 90% of respondents indicated mental health is a problem in our community. Mental health was identified as a top priority in Eau Claire County. Mayo Clinic Health System is one of the sponsors of a suicide prevention walk coming up in a few months.

Mental health conditions can include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and many others.

Eau Claire County residents reported an average of two mentally unhealthy days in the past 30 days.

Hospitalizations for self-inflicted injuries in Eau Claire County have exceeded the statewide average since 2000.

One of our biggest concerns is suicide. According to a survey, 16 percent of Eau Claire County 10th and 12th graders have considered suicide - sometimes often.

Some of the signs of mental health conditions to watch for are:
• Eating or sleeping too much or too little, avoiding people and usual activities
• Having low or no energy, feeling numb or like nothing matters
• Feeling helpless or hopeless, unusually confused, angry, or scared
• Severe mood swings, hearing voices, thinking of harming yourself or others

Mental illnesses often are associated with physical health problems and risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and substance abuse: factors that can lead to chronic disease, injury and disability.

Mental health is essential for personal well-being, caring family and interpersonal relationships, and meaningful contributions to society.

Good mental health allows us to form positive relationships, use our abilities to reach our potential and deal with life's challenges.

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