According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five American adults has one or more forms of mental illness. Additionally, one in 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition that can have long-term or lifelong effects on their mental well-being. These conditions include illnesses like bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia along with many more.
It is challenging for those who are not dealing with mental illness to understand that these are real conditions that require treatment. In fact, if you are living with a mental illness, you have likely heard things like, “Just get over it” or “It’s all in your head.” It is NOT, in fact, all in your head. The people saying these things do not likely have bad intentions when they say it. But there is widespread misunderstanding about what mental illness is and how to handle it.
Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment because of shame or even unawareness that they have a mental health condition. If you suffer from mental illness, you are not alone. Seek treatment if you even suspect that you might have a mental health condition. There are many resources to help.
If you are a loved one of someone with a mental health condition, please take action to educate yourself. It is extremely challenging to live with a mental illness. Remember that you do not have to understand what another person is experiencing to show compassion and empathy. Listening to someone or reaching out to check in can make enormous differences to someone who is suffering. Encourage people to seek help and be there to help them find it!
Many people can overcome the challenges that mental health issues present. Working with professionals to develop a treatment plan may reduce symptoms associated with mental illness. Having a mental health condition may be a roadblock, but it is NOT the end of the road. Seek help. Do not be ashamed. It is not “in your head.” Face mental health issues head-on and encourage those around you to do the same.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Do everything you can to support those around you. Together we can remove the stigma associated with mental illness.