Replace mental illness stigma with awareness

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Community Mental Health Center, Inc., Lawrenceburg, other mental health providers, and advocates for mental health care throughout the United States are continuing to work together with hundreds of thousands of Americans to support mental health care services and to provide education about mental illnesses.

This mission is highlighted during national Mental Illness Awareness Week, celebrated Oct. 6 through Oct.12 this year. “WhyCare?” is the theme for this year’s event.

The event focuses on raising awareness of mental illnesses and their impact on individuals, families and society in general, and on replacing stigma surrounding mental illness with hope for treatment and recovery.

Mental Illness Awareness Week was established by Congress in 1990 in recognition of the efforts of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) to raise mental illness awareness.

NAMI has chapters in every state in the nation and is active in advocating for the rights of individuals with mental illnesses and lobbying for improved services.

CMHC, Inc. and NAMI hope everyone will talk about mental health and share what they know and what they learn with family, friends and others.

This is also a time to free everyone from stereotypes that too often discourage people from getting help when they need it. There is hope for renewal and recovery. We can all make a difference in the lives of family, friends and others who experience mental illness.

One in five adults experiences mental illness problems every year, and 50% of chronic mental illness begins by age 14.

Although many people today understand mental illness is a medical condition, there are too many myths surrounding mental health conditions, and with these myths comes stigma, misunderstanding, and discrimination.

NAMI and CMHC, Inc. are working to help break down myths and increase understanding today and every day.

“Everyone knows someone with a mental illness,” said Tom Talbot, CMHC Executive Director. “Stigma surrounding mental illness has reduced significantly over the years. Replacing stigma with hope, support, and understanding goes a long way.”

Unfortunately, there can be long delays – sometimes decades – between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.

Less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment. You are never alone. Know where to find help when it is needed.

Many people begin with their primary care doctor. Many start by confiding in a close family member or friend. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

CMHC, Inc. served more than 5,000 people during State Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). CMHC provides comprehensive behavioral health services (mental health and substance use disorders treatment services) to individuals of all ages in Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties.

NAMI says, “Every year during Mental Illness Awareness Week, we educate the public, eliminate stigma, and advocate for better access to mental health care. And each year, our movement grows stronger. We are calling on everyone to join NAMI and raise awareness by sharing the WhyCare? campaign and helping to dispel harmful myths. Care is a simple word, but a powerful way to change lives for people affected by mental illnesses.”

For more information about the WhyCare? campaign, visit NAMI’s website at www.nami.org.

Early identification and treatment is vital – by getting individuals the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness.

The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective – between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of medication and psychosocial treatments and supports.

The economic cost of untreated mental illnesses is about $200 billion each year in the United States.

“Treatment works and recovery is possible! We can save and transform lives if we listen, reach out to, and help facilitate getting individuals the help they need,” said Talbot.

For more information about services offered by Community Mental Health Center, Inc., please call 812-537-1302 for the location of an office near you, or visit CMHC’s website at www.cmhcinc.org for more information.

All services of Community Mental Health Center, Inc. are provided without regard to race, religion, disability, gender, color, age, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political belief, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

Kevin Kennedy is P.R. Manager/Administrative Assistant at CMHC.

The Dearborn County Register & Journal Press

Mailing address:
     Register Publications,
     126 W. High St.
     Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Phone: 1-812-537-0063
Fax: 1-812-537-5576