Mental health issues affect all of society in some way, shape, or form. It is estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year and that translates to about 57.7 million people.
Research shows that the number one obstacle in seeking treatment for mental illness is stigma. Negative stereotypes and a lack of understanding of mental illness keep people from actually getting help for treatable conditions.
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Mental illnesses are serious medical illnesses. They cannot be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a person's "character" or intelligence. Mental illness falls along a continuum of severity.
Mental health issues are treatable and without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society can create unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and even suicide. The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
During mental health awareness month professionals, organizations, schools, communities, hospitals and even media outlets will join together in an effort to raise the awareness about mental health and attempt to decrease the stigma that prevents people from getting the help they need.
Be sure to check with your community of planned events this month that will help increase awareness surrounding mental health.