May is Mental Health Month. Throughout the month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), works to generate national awareness and education about mental health, fight the stigma associated with mental illness, advocate for mental health care, and provide support for those in need. Their focus this year is #CureStigma, a campaign created to address the stigma of fear and shame frequently associated with mental illness. According to NAMI, stigma is a primary reason that individuals refrain from seeking treatment.
In the United States, mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults each year, approximately 43 million Americans.1 Similarly, NAMI quotes estimates from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that 1 in 5 teens (age 13-18), experiences mental health problems during their lives. Over 18% of adults have experienced some type of anxiety-related mental health issue. And, according to NAMI and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over half of the 20 million adults who have a substance abuse problem also have a mental illness.2 Unfortunately, less than half of all American adults with mental health conditions received treatment, and similarly, only half of youth with mental health illnesses received treatment.3
Currently, the world is facing a global pandemic from COVID-19 which has caused adverse impacts in all sectors of our society and communities. This outbreak is stressful for many individuals, and fear and anxiety over the disease can be overwhelming for adults and children alike. There are many ways you and your family can reduce and cope with stress, and take care of your mental health during this unprecedented time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a specific site dedicated to dealing with stress during this time, as has the World Health Organization. Please check out these helpful resources during this time to sustain good health and well-being for you and your family.
Mental illness affects millions of Americans, and NAMI believes the best way to start healing our country is to eliminate the stigma and replace it with compassion and help. We can all do our part to spread the word and work towards helping individuals get the help they need by starting with #CureStigma.
For more information, visit NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, at https://www.nami.org. Their hotline is 800-950-NAMI or text NAMI to 741741. Take the #CureStigma quiz at http://www.curestigma.org/.