One in five adults has a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year. That is nearly 60 million people. Mental health conditions are common (in fact, they are the leading cause of disability in the U.S.), but they are also treatable. Individuals can recover from mental health disorders and go on to lead full and productive lives.
On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. One reason is that less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment. Many people may be reluctant to ask for help or don’t know where to find it.
Mental health is essential to an individual’s overall health and well-being. Events and changes can seriously impact people, whether it’s a veteran struggling with the invisible wounds of war or someone coping with the stress of caregiving, divorce, or the loss of a loved one. Sometimes, people are dealing with depression associated with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or hypertension. Traumatic events such as the BP oil spill can also take a huge toll on an individual’s mental health.
When mental health care isn’t available in a community, the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, more welfare and much more expensive costs for hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, police and even courts, jails and prisons.
Spread the Word
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare has created five Halloween-themed graphics that you can share to spread the word about Mental Illness Awareness Week. If you use the images, be sure to link back to www.thenationalcouncil.org.