Raising Awareness for Mental Health Month

Raising Awareness for Mental Health Month

 

 

Mental Health Month

Although our knowledge of mental health has grown significantly over the years, mental health remains largely misunderstood. Out of this lack of understanding evolved the month of May becoming Mental Health Awareness Month (also known as Mental Health Month). The primary goal of Mental Health Month is to spread awareness of mental health issues.  The secondary goals encourage people to seek medical treatment as soon as they experience any symptoms. It also brings awareness to whether or not a person may qualify for disability based on their mental health condition.

The History of Mental Health Month

The Mental Health America organization first established Mental Health Month back in 1949. Their goal was to increase awareness throughout the U.S. through the means of media, local events and screenings. Each year, they provide affiliates and other organizations who want to take part with materials that they can use to conduct a variety of activities based on a different mental health theme.

For example, last year the theme was “Risky Business.” Which focused on the habits and behaviors that increase the risk or mental illness. Or, that exacerbate existing mental health conditions. In 2016, the theme was “Mental Illness Feels Like.” Which encouraged mental health patients to share what it was like to have a mental illness. Patients do this by using words, pictures or video on social media. This year’s theme is “Fitness.”

Mental Health Disability Benefits

One of the important elements of mental health awareness depends on whether or not you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits as a result of a mental illness. For example, once diagnosed with a mental providing enough proof that your you have severe symptoms that render you unable to work. Furthermore, even if you may physically have the ability to do your job, a mental health condition may affect your performance. It may also potentially put you and your coworkers at a safety risk.

The Social Security Administration has a Blue Book that lists all of the illnesses and conditions that are considered disabling. Mental disorders are listed in section 12. There are nine categories. These include:

  1. Affective disorders
  2. Anxiety disorders
  3. Autism
  4. Mental retardation
  5. Organic mental disorders
  6. Personality disorders
  7. Achizophrenia (lumped with paranoia and psychotic disorders)
  8. Somatoform disorders
  9. Substance addiction

Each one of these mental disorders has specific requirements in order to qualify as a disability. For example, if you have an anxiety disorder, then you have to have one of the following:

  • A constant irrational fear.
  • Constant anxiety resulting in specific symptoms.
  • Recurring obsessions or compulsions that lead to significant stress.
  • Recurring panic attacks at least once a week that are unpredictable.

Taking a Mental Evaluation

If you don’t have recent medical information in your file that supports your case, the Social Security Administration will require that you take a medical evaluation. You’ll need to take this evaluation if you have never received treatment for your condition. Or,  if you have not received treatment within the past 60 days.

The evaluation will be conducted by a psychologist or psychiatrist and will be paid for by the Social Security Administration. You’ll have to take one of three different types of mental exams depending on your condition. These include the following:

  • Psychological consultative exam. This exam involves IQ testing and/or memory testing. And for those who have experienced a decline in mental functioning as a result of an accident, a stroke, an organic brain disorder or mental retardation.
  • Psychiatric evaluation. Psychiatric evaluations are done for individuals who claim that they have a personality or mood disorder, such as schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder.
  • Mental status exam. A mental status exam evaluates your current mental condition. Also, done for individuals who have situational problems with anxiety, panic attacks or depression.

Once the evaluation is completed, the physician or psychiatrist in charge will send a written report to the Disability Determination Services. A decision will be made within ten days.

May is Mental Health Month. It’s important that people who suffer from symptoms relating to mental illness seek medical treatment right away.

If you suffer from a mental disorder and need assistance filing for Social Security disability benefits, we answer our phones 24/7 at (602) 952-3200 to set up a free consultation here at Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

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