Each year during the month of May, national mental health organizations reach out to the public to promote mental health awareness. The purpose of this outreach is to educate patients and their loved ones about mental illness, provide mental health resources, and promote mental well-being for all.
The following facts provided will hopefully help to reduce common misunderstandings about mental health, encourage open and safe opportunities for communication, and provide helpful resources for additional information.
Mental health is most always associated with mental illness. However, the absence of mental illness does not mean that a person has optimal mental health. Mental health is a state of good well-being, where a person is able to live their life to the fullest, handle the stresses of life, and participate fully in their communities. Mental illness is defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as “a condition that impacts a person's thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.”
Did you know that approximately one in five American adults experience mental health issues? There are also many children that experience mental illness; three quarters of mental health issues begin before the age of 24. Around 20% of young people and 44% of adults do not receive the help they need.
By addressing mental health issues, these individuals and their loved ones will have a better quality of life, and will not only recover from mental illness, but have good overall mental health. Individuals can receive help through support systems, therapies, and medications.
Lastly, about 41,000 people are lost to suicide each year, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. That is more than double the number of lives lost from homicides per year. If someone you know is thinking about harming themselves, get help immediately. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). For more information about suicide prevention, please go to mental health.gov/talk.
Other trusted websites are:
Take the stigmafree pledge! More information can be found at the National Alliance on Mental Illness Website: http://www.nami.org/stigmafree
If you have any additional questions regarding mental health, please do not hesitate to ask your doctor or other health care provider.