Merck Manuals Shares Insights on Mental Health Challenges

The doctor shares common thoughts and phrases that should not be ignored

KENILWORTH, NJ, September 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly half of all adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. In a new editorial on, Michael B. FirstMD, a psychiatrist at University of Columbiashares some of the signs, symptoms – but also phrases and trains of thought – that can indicate that a person is dealing with a mental illness.

“Who wouldn’t be depressed or anxious right now?”

We all feel sadness or anxiety from time to time, says First. However, doctors can diagnose mental health problems based on factors including the severity of the symptoms, the duration of the symptoms, and how much they affect the person’s ability to function in daily life. First says phrases like “of course I’m stressed” or “who wouldn’t be depressed right now” may indicate people trying to downplay the seriousness of their mental health problems.

“It will go away on its own.”

People often do themselves a disservice by keeping mental health problems to themselves and hoping they go away, says First. He explains the longer a person waits to seek help, the worse the condition can get. For symptoms that regularly affect daily life, First recommends speaking to a professional.

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“A doctor won’t be able to help me.”

First points out that this is another phrase that could indicate that a person is trying to live with a mental health problem rather than seek help. If you’re waiting for care or an appointment with a mental health professional, talking to your family doctor can be a good place to start, says First. Additional resources include or the National Institute of Mental Health website.

“I think about harming myself or that I’d be better off dead.”

People who feel isolated or alone, or who have a more serious mental illness, may have thoughts of harming or killing themselves, says First. Seek help immediately in these situations:

  • Call 9-1-1 if a person is about to commit suicide or has already attempted suicide. Talk to the suicidal person in a calm, supportive voice until help arrives.
  • in the The United StatesYou can also call or text 988, the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for free and confidential emotional support for people experiencing suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • SMS resources are also available. The Crisis Text Line is an SMS service for emotional crisis support. To speak to a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It’s free, available 24/7, and confidential.
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To learn more about mental health, please visit

About the Merck manuals and MSD manuals

First published in 1899 as a small reference work for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world’s most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual has evolved, the range and depth of its offering has continually expanded to reflect its mission to provide the best medical information to a broad cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. In 2015, The Manuals launched Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a global initiative aiming to make the best up-to-date medical information available to up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. The manuals have achieved this goal and are now medical information is available in more than 241 countries and in 13 languages. It continues its ambitious mission through outreach, education and the creation of new reliable medical resources. Visit or and connect with us on social media for access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and an ever-expanding set of resources: For consumers in the United States and its territories : Twitter and Facebook. For professionals in the United States and its territories: Twitter and Facebook.

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About Merck

At Merck, known outside as MSD The United States and Canada, we are united around our goal: We use the power of cutting-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we’ve brought hope to humanity through the development of essential medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the leading research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today we are at the forefront of research to provide innovative healthcare solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of disease in humans and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and act responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. For more information, visit and contact us at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, youtube and LinkedIn.

SOURCE The Merck Handbooks

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