May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Chip HugginsThis month is very different than any other month for people suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia and other mental conditions because of isolation and lack of personal contact to friends, family and therapists. Their ongoing struggles with dealing with their condition has worsened since March 16.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one in four Americans are affected by mental illness annually, and one in 17 lives with a major mental health illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Close to 20 percent of teens from 13 to 18 cope with mental illness annually, and about 18 percent of adult’s cope with anxiety disorders.

Mental Health Awareness month is an attempt to shine a light on the stigma that still exists toward persons with a mental health condition. The stigma is preventing many from getting the needed help they need to put them on the road of recovery.

Research has confirmed that harboring stigma has quite a negative effect on those afflicted with a mental health condition. It often delays the process of coping as well as healing. If people who are impacted feel they are being treated as outcasts of society, this can exacerbate depression and increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide itself.

When people are open about their mental health condition, it may lessen the chance of others affecting them emotionally. Awareness and acceptance of mental illness as a part of our society has continued to grow with the help of media, the Internet and television.

The support of family and community are important parts of this process. Specifically, the recognition of the enormous toll that depression and suicide have had on society and how the media has helped disseminate. On the other hand, with the publicity around the recent mass shootings, the press has many times stereotyped that all people with mental health conditions are violent.

It can be factually supported that a small percentage 4 to 5 percent have violent tendencies when not properly treated.

In particular, the current global pandemic crisis has increased the mental health crisis in the world.

As a community, we must focus on helping those who suffer from a mental health condition. Funding needs to be increased to meet the increased demand of our friends, family, and community.

Hope Services works tirelessly to assist clients with mental health conditions and assist them with their recovery.

Recovery happens every day.

Charles “Chip” Huggins, JD