Although you would not know it by the media May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Although many Americans may not realize it 1 in 5 American adults will have a mental health condition in any give
n year (Mental Health America, 2015). Another sad fact is that 50% of people will develop their conditions before the age of 14 (Mental Health America, 2015). But the good news is many mental health conditions are treatable, the rate of success is about the same as many medical diseases (Beresin, 2015).
The problem with most people for treatment is the stigma attached to mental illness. In my generation the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest did not do much to further the cause. Even in the famous trilogy of 50 Shades of Gray we have the character of Leila who is going out of her mind because of grief in the second book. I cannot tell you how many police shows we have the mental health patient as violent and there is nothing that can be done to help them. Very rarely do we see any positive outcomes for these people. Yet in a lot of cases, there is hope and as long as people take their medication they can function. How is that any different from diabetes where you have to take medication for your entire life?
Dr. Beresin writes” Let’s reflect on why we label and isolate those, who by virtue of their genetic constitution or neurological wiring, by the ill effects of poverty, lack of resources, trauma, or a myriad of other environmental hazards, succumb to anxiety, depression, substance use and other mental illness.
Let’s get mental illness out of the closet. Let’s realize that we all have brains that endure and react to trauma of some kind.”
In 2013, President Obama declared May as Mental Health Month (NAMI, 2015). Only now is mental health starting to get the recognition it deserves as a disease process. It has a long way to go but with everyone talking about it and making it acceptable, people will continue to get the treatment they need. The trick is to get people to talk about it and not in a negative way. At one time, cancer was whispered and AIDS was considered a four letter word, let us do the same for mental illness.
Beresin, G. (2015) Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month: No One Is Untouched by Mental Illness, Huffington Post, May 15, 2015 Retrieved from: http://www. huffingtonpost.com
Mental Health America Infographic B4Stage 4: Changing the Way We Think About Mental Health Retrieved from: http://www,mentalhealthamerica.net/infographic-b4stage4-changong-way-we-think-about-mental-health
NAMI May is Mental Health Month Retrieved from: http://www2.nami.org/template.cfm?section=may_is_mental_health_month