What Are The Warning Signs of Mental Illness?

By Pyerse Dandridge
Author: Subprime Felon: Inside Federal Prison Camp

Did you know that mental health issues are extremely common in the criminal population? Over 10% of inmates have been reported to have some form of mental illness. Studies have shown that even after receiving psychiatric help, some former criminals still present psychiatric symptoms after discharge. The most common disorders are substance abuse and personality disorders. Unfortunately,  some of the individuals with mental illness are unable to afford proper care and because of this, they return to committing crimes both violent and nonviolent in nature.

Many who experience mental illness often find no relief and perpetually find themselves incarcerated or detained in some fashion. If mental illness symptoms go untreated, these individuals are likely to hurt themselves or someone else. We must take the time to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness so we can help multiple lives. Please familiarize yourself with the signs below.

Signs of such mental illnesses include:

  • Significant mood swings
  • Prolonged depression periods
  • Constant fatigue
  • Extreme weight gain or loss
  • Lack of sleep
  • Violent outbursts
  • Extreme behavioral changes
  • Consistent self-criticism
  • Suicide attempts

There are many ways to find solutions for individuals who struggle with mental illness. Psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities are the best fit in the hopes of assisting someone with these problems. Studies have shown that assistance facilities and programs help individuals with mental illness by establishing a consistency in day to day living habits. It allows them to remove themselves from poor and dangerous environments that can lead to homelessness. The problem lies with financing. For those that have no income or very limited funds, those types of facilities and programs are unrealistic and their symptoms are left untreated.

Another solution are employment programs. There are work programs designed for people with mental illnesses and evidence proves that having a job significantly enhances overall self-esteem. There is also proof that employment aids individuals with mental illnesses in other ways. Additionally, Some programs help individuals with basic needs such as finding food, shelter or around-the-clock assistance. However, some cities do not include this type of assistance due to low population of available volunteers or charity organizations.

Mental illness is very real and very serious, and many individuals are locked away in correctional facilities (where they do not belong) rather than receiving help finding the mental care they need. Substance abuse is a major illness that affects the entire character of an individual. Rehabilitation centers are often the best place to detox from these types of illnesses but, again, these places are not accessible to everyone. However, without help, these individuals often worsen and have no hope for a better future.