Mental Health Awareness Month is here, and we must all contribute to the efforts of the National Association of Mental Health in creating awareness about mental health problems. Every 1 in 5 Americans quietly fights the battle of mental illness every year. Half of the cases are not even reported in a fear of what will people say? and the fear of being treated differently. To get rid of this stigma attached to mental health, Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated every year in May.
So, in an attempt to promote awareness and clear up common misconceptions, here are 11 facts about mental health:
Mental Health Problems Are Very Common
Contrary to popular belief, mental health is more common than it is usually perceived to be. Every one in ten American teenagers experience a mental illness, commonly a depression. While 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. It is because of major depression and other critical mental health conditions that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Mentally Ill People Are Productive and Non-Violent
The fact that mentally ill people are violent and unpredictable stands untrue. Only 3-4% of severe mental illness cases can be attributed to violent acts. However, what’s shocking is that a majority of people with severe mental health conditions are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. Also, we probably won’t even recognize someone who is in a bad mental state. These individuals could be as productive as most of us and sometimes could be the most active members of our community.
Teenagers Are As Much Affected As Adults
Mental health is not age-specific. Early signs of mental illness are clinically diagnosed in young children and are often stemmed from psychological, biological, and social factors. What’s unfortunate is that less than 20% of children receive medical attention while others are left unattended. Since this condition can be diagnosed at an early age, it is crucial to handle it then and there. Children living and growing up with a mental disorder is catastrophic. It can not only cause distress to them, but to their family members as well.
Mental Health Does Not Mean Being Lazy
Many often perceive mentally ill people to be lazy and weak. However, the fact is exactly on the opposite side of this. People with mental health conditions are not lazy but are reported to be as productive as their colleagues and even more punctual as compared to other employees. These people need nothing but a little support to get out of this. The mental illness they suffer from is either caused due to brain chemistry, genes, sudden loss of someone close, and family history of mental health problems. People can even recover completely provided they take proper treatment and show a will to overcome it.
The Treatment For Mental Illness Is Both Therapy And Self-Help; Not Pills Alone
Mental illness is a condition that demands proper medical treatment and care. It includes therapy, taking appropriate medications, and even the need for a support system during recovery to assist in the healing process. Prescribing mere medication to mentally ill people rather than providing a proper treatment has even turned some patients to addicts.
Stigma Holds Back Around 56% of the Mentally Ill
Almost half of the mental health-related cases do not seek medical attention. This is mainly due to the stigma attached to mental illness. The misconception of being viewed as different has caused more people to hold back despite having bad mental health. Only 44% of adults receive proper medical care.
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Around 50.5% of American adults who are mentally ill, are also found to be a victim of substance abuse. The stats are crucial as it clearly shows that those suffering from any sort of mental illness are taking the dangerous path of drug abuse.
LGBTQ Community Struggles With Mental Illness As Well
The LGBTQ community members are twice as likely to fall victim to mental illness as compared to the straight individuals.
Stress At Work Is More Than We Think
A study suggests that a good number of employees are not happy with or at their jobs, making them prone to mental health problems. Further, to cope with stress at work, employees choose caffeine 31% of the time, followed by smoking (27%), then exercising more (25%), followed by medications and alcohol consumption (23% and 20% respectively).
70-90% of Patients See Reduction In Symptoms Using Proper Treatment
Bad mental health is neither a myth nor it is an incurable medical condition. Various research concludes that around 70-90% of mentally ill people have walked back home with reduced symptoms only because they took proper treatment. Recovery rate depends on the type of mental disorder and the stage at which the person is brought to seek medical care. The reason why it is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional during the earlier days of observing symptoms.
Mental Illness Reduces Life Expectancy
Yes. And by how many years you ask? 10-20 years. Mental illness almost always doesn’t end with suicide. Although even that is a case to raise concerns, but mental illness also takes a heavy toll on the overall health of our body. If left untreated and unattended, a mentally ill person may continue to live, but with comparatively shorter lifespans than their healthy counterparts. The fact that people are still unaware of this, makes it even more crucial to spread knowledge.
Despite the challenges faced, mentally ill people tend to live a productive life. It is only when their condition is left unattended that the situation becomes worse. Also, knowledge can change the world as we know it. We have many people who advocate and promote how crucial it is for patients with mental illness to come forward and seek treatment. However, we also can’t deny the existence of those who shame the mentally ill either knowingly or unknowingly. Promoting awareness about mental illness can help stop this discrimination and may encourage affected people to talk about their issues freely. That’s what the world needs right now.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.