May is Mental Health Month

It’s past time to educate, not stigmatize

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

Recent deaths of stars and athletics have opened the discussions of mental health, showing that it affects all people.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, nearly 46,000 Americans died by suicide, and an additional 1.2 million adults and 629,000 adolescents attempted suicide. Federal data shows that the nation’s suicide rate increased 33% across all sexes, races, and ethnicities over the past two decades.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

Mental Health Facts

  • 1 in 5 (46.6 million) adults in the United States experience a mental health condition in a given year.

  • 1 in 25 (11.2 million) adults in the United States experience a serious mental illness in a given year.

  • Approximately 46.6 million adults in the United States face the reality of managing a mental illness every day.

  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.

  • Up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness as revealed by psychological autopsy. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.

  • Individuals with mental health conditions face an average 11-year delay between experiencing symptoms and starting treatment.

  • Common barriers to treatment include the cost of mental health care and insurance, prejudice and discrimination, and structural barriers like transportation.

  • Even though most people can experience relief from symptoms and support for their recovery in treatment, less than half of the adults in the United States get the help they need.

What Is Stigma?

Stigma is when someone negatively views a person because that person may have a mental health condition. “Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt like a judgment from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.”

Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.

How can you help support Mental Health Month( at any time)?

  • Connect with friends, family, and other individuals and strike up some positive dialogue about mental health and the importance of ending the stigma.

  • Learn more about mental health by utilizing the resources below or by talking to a mental health professional about what they do.

  • Offer support to your loved ones when they open up to you about their struggles with mental illness.

  • Tell your story! If you live with a mental illness, sharing your story can be a powerful way to support others who may be experiencing a similar situation.

If you have a story, please submit to Read All About It, as it may help others.

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