This week Sunshine State Counseling Center is recognizing Mental Illness Awareness Week. Although mental health is a topic we should discuss year round, this week allows us to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and dedicate this time to educate the public on fighting stigma and providing support. Millions of individuals face the reality of living with a mental health condition, and yet, the stigma attached to mental illness creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence which prevents many individuals from seeking help and treatment. In some cases, this costs individuals their lives.
Here are 4 reasons why Mental Illness Awareness week matters:
- The amount of people impacted by mental illness.
The National Institute for Mental Health did a study in 2015 finding that 1 in 5 (43.8 million) American adults suffer from mental illness in any given year. Adolescents are also impacted by mental illness, with 21.4% experiencing a severe mental illness at some point in their lifetime.
- Awareness must be made.
When we talk mental illness, it lets other people know that they are not alone. Having this discussion also informs society on the severity of the issue. It can be beneficial to understand the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of mental illness.
- We must eliminate stigma.
Stigma is 100% preventable! The shame, fear, and guilt that is placed on the topic of mental illness can cause people to feel even more isolated than what they already do. We do not want mental illness to define anyone or have people feeling alone. Eliminating the stigma can do just this!
- The importance of treatment.
Seeking treatment can be the first step in the right direction and can overall improve the quality of your life. Understanding what mental illness is and why seeking treatment is a crucial part to the recovery process can allow someone to seek help sooner. Individuals suffering from mental illness can also develop other chronic medical conditions depending on the severity of the mental illness.
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, a licensed mental health professional may be able to help. For more information, please call Sunshine State Counseling Center at 239-495-7722.