HOUSTON (KIAH) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a local organization says they are seeing an increase in Houstonians dealing with mental illness.

Medical professionals from Mental Health America Greater Houston say over the last two years, more kids and young adults have been experiencing anxiety, depression, ADHD and even committing suicide.

Healthcare workers say “social media” is playing a big role in anxiety and depression for millennials and Gen- Z. Mental illness can start as early as elementary school.

There are a number of other things that can contribute to mental health diseases. More recently, the pandemic, experiences at home or school, grief and loss, and increased responsibility.

We are seeing the numbers of suicide increase. We’re not seeing more adults really take this on as a serious matter. It’s very easy to dismiss a young person when they’re crying out for help.

Jamie Freeny, MHAHouston, and School of Behavior Health

Freeny recommends using resources like therapy or behavioral services at any age. If you can’t afford it, reach out to local churches or schools.

Also if you have a relative or friend experiencing mental illness. Freeny has some recommendations.

  1. Listen – try not to dismiss their concerns. If you ask questions, make them open-ended.

 2. Validate – acknowledge their feelings. 

3. Reassure –   let the person know you love them, they’re safe and you hear them.

Anxiety and Depression explanation from a therapist

It’s normal to have a fluctuating mood in all of our lives. It’s going up and down. But here’s the thing. The further it goes up in an anxious mood or the further it goes down in a depressed mood, the further from that midpoint begins to impair our judgment.

Matt Barnhill, Barnhill Counseling Center.

If you think you may be showing signs of mental illness, Mental Health America Houston has a free self-screener. You can find that link and additional resources on their website.