Lifeline Connections

Before Stage 4 Identifying Mental Health Conditions

If you haven’t heard of the website or the program B4Stage4, it would be worth your time to do some research about it. To get you started, here is a crash course: Stage 4 is often attributed to the stages of cancer or other potentially detrimental physical diseases, but as you can guess this also applies to mental health. In the case of cancer, stage 4 essentially means that the situation is highly urgent and critical. The key is to stop the progression as soon as the disease can be detected, which is usually at stage 1.

I think you see where I am going with this- in the case of mental health, the progression and strategy is similar. Assess and reverse or prevent.

After having my children, I was constantly being asked by my doctors and even my children’s pediatricians about my personal well-being. I was required to fill out surveys and discuss even the smallest issues with my mood that might have come up week by week. At first it seemed excessive- until the sleep deprivation set in and I was noticing how difficult it was for me to accomplish even every day tasks. I felt not only tired but very disconnected with my real self. I was depressed and anxious to degrees I had not experienced in many years. I reached out to my spouse and family and talked to my doctor. I was able to come up with the right strategy to stave my anxiety and reverse my depression.

Unfortunately, there are many who don’t end up with such positive results and most often their condition could have been recognized early and prevented like mine was. The purpose of B4Stage4 is to do exactly that. This movement provides information about how biology, environment, lifestyle, and genes all affect our mental health. B4Stage4 also provides information about early intervention and identification as well as some screenings to help you decide if you need to seek help. There are even some resources for self-care or help with understanding insurance options if professional care is needed.

The 4 Stages

Stage 1- Symptoms begin but are not invasive to a normal lifestyle. For example, a person may feel anxious or depressed and take a mental health day off of work, but are able to recover and move on.

Stage 2- Symptoms, if they go untreated, become more frequent and severe and may interfere with normal activities. In this stage, it starts to become obvious to outsiders that something is wrong. The affected person may be getting increasingly irritable with others, or falling behind on their normal work.

Stage 3- Symptoms are severe and causing constant disruption of daily activities. Symptoms that may not have occurred simultaneously before definitely are now. Marriages start to become jeopardized, or the person may be walking on thin ice with work or other responsibilities.

Stage 4- Symptoms are so severe that they have interfered with the person’s life in big ways such as job loss, incarceration, divorce, etc.

While mental health is a personal issue, the way we think of mental health as a society makes a huge difference in recovery. If more people could recognize the signs of a mental health crisis, or even the signs of someone in stage 1 or 2 of a mental illness and could address it appropriately, we could all add value to the fight for mental health recovery and prevention.

At Lifeline Connections, we provide recovery options for those who need treatment for addiction as well as mental illness. Our outpatient co-occurring treatment program is custom made to fit your individual situation. We provide you with peer support and wellness skills to teach you how to find balance in your life. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA areas and are in need of our many mental health services, call or email us at or 360-397-8246.

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