Mental illnesses, unlike many other health conditions, currently have no cure. While therapy treatments and certain medications can mitigate the impact of mental health disorders, without constant maintenance, diseases of the mind, such as depression and bipolar disorder can quickly spin out of control. Thanks to the tireless efforts of researchers, doctors and behavioral therapists people living with mental illness can lead relatively normal lives and be productive members of society.
Due to the ambiguous nature of mental health conditions (problems that cannot be seen on the surface), the majority of people do not understand mental illness. And, like most things people do not understand, they become fearful, which can lead to the development of stigma. Whenever anything is viewed through the lens of fear, opinions and decisions are made without reason. In the case of mental illness, the mark of disgrace associated with it keeps people from seeking help because they feel that they will be treated differently or be shunned by their families and peers. Choosing to ignore one’s condition by failing to seek help, can have a fatal outcome.
May is Mental Health Month (often referred to as Mental Health Awareness Month), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling on everyone to help break the stigma of mental illness by offering hope. It is fair to say that every American adult knows someone who battles some form of mental health disorder, which means that we all have an obligation to do our part for the good of society. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, according to NAMI. The goal of this year’s Mental Health Month (MHM) is to:
- Advocate for Parity
- Provide Support
- Educate the Public
- Fight Stigma
You may be wondering how you can help. NAMI is encouraging people to take advantage of the internet—especially social media sites like Facebook and Twitter for example. You can share mental health related information, images and graphics with the hashtags #StigmaFree and/or #MentalHealthMonth.
It is quite common for people with a history of addiction to also have another form of a mental health condition, which is known as having a co-occurring disorder. If you are in recovery from addiction and have a co-occurring disorder, you can help others make the decision to seek help by sharing your experience. NAMI created the You Are Not Alone campaign to be an open, safe place to express yourself anonymously.
You can also join Mayim Bialik, of the Big Bang Theory and pledge to be #StigmaFree. Please watch the short video below:
If you are having trouble watching the video, please click here.
Family Recovery Specialists understands the sensitive relationship between substance abuse and mental health problems. We offer a highly individualized approach to adult and teen substance abuse and mental health treatment, providing residential treatment, outpatient rehab, at-risk programs, therapeutic consulting, crisis management, family therapy, and recovery coaching for patients who suffer with substance use and mental health disorders. To learn more about our treatment approach or submit a confidential inquiry, connect by phone or email today.