MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS: SHINING THE LIGHT ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Mental illness affects many people, and unfortunately it’s an illness that people seldom discuss openly. Cloaked in shame and embarrassment, many people fear seeking help because they may not want to be thought of as “different” from others. WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?
- Mental illness covers a broad spectrum of conditions related to mental and emotional health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines mental illness as, “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feelings or mood.” The most common conditions are anxiety, depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia.
- If you do not have a mental illness, chances are you have had a mental illness in the past or you know someone struggling with a mental illness. In fact, 43.8 million adults experience a mental illness each year. That’s a lot of people. When you add friends, family members, and caretakers, the number of people impacted by mental illness is staggering.
REMOVING THE SHROUD OF SHAME
- Many people with a mental illness suffer in silence and do not seek help. Unfortunately, approximately 60% of adults and 50% of youth (ages 8-15) do not get the care they need. Many times, the reason people don’t get help is because there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and they don’t want to be labeled in a negative manner. However, because mental illness is exceedingly common, it is becoming a more mainstream topic of discussion. As a society, we can continue to work toward eliminating the stigma of mental illness by talking about our personal experiences with mental illness, not judging others, or making them feel inferior or inadequate because they have a mental illness. Most importantly, we must recognize that mental illness is just that – an illness.
RESOURCES – HELP IS AVAILABLE
- If you or someone you know is suicidal, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Know that help and hope is available, even though that’s very difficult to see in the midst of a crisis. If the situation is not critical, make an appointment with a physician or a mental health therapist, to get the help needed. Either way, know that mental illness is manageable and, with proper treatment, most people can mitigate their symptoms and regain a sense of hope, dignity, and normalcy in their daily lives.
Recover Health, a regional full-service home health care provider, works in collaboration with health care providers by providing in-home assessments of a client’s unique needs, monitoring compliance with prescribed medications, and alerting health care providers of changes observed in the client’s condition.