Mental Health Awareness

Two days ago, it was World Mental Health Day. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There are many people in the world affected by mental health issues.

Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders—many of whom live with both conditions. Personally, I am affected by both conditions. They are debilitating at times. Some people are more functional than others. Some people can put on a fake smile and pretend their problems are non-existent.

Here’s a deeper look at how mental health issues affect Americans:

  • 1 in 5 (or 43.8 million) adults experience mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 (or 10 million) adults experience a serious mental illness.
  • 1 in 100 (or 2.4 million) live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% (or 6.1 million) of Americans have bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% (or 16 million) suffer from severe depression.
  • 18.1% (or 42 million) live with an anxiety disorder.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

And yet:

  • Only 41% of adults with a mental health condition received help and less than 50% of children 8-15 received mental health services.
  • Only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment.
  • Less than 20% of Americans with moderate depressive symptoms sought help from a medical professional.
  • And 4% of young adults with self-reported mental health needs forego care.

Arguably, the lack of care can be related to a few different things. There is a lack of support from friends and family to seek help. There is a bad stigma surrounding mental health disorders and getting help for them. The individual lacks insurance or does not qualify for assistance. Or even simply, they do not want help. There are so many reasons why someone may not get help. There needs to be a reform on how we think about mental health.

In my own experience, I have heard so many times to "suck it up" or "stop trying to get attention" or "exercise will relieve your symptoms". I've been actively dealing with anxiety since 2011 and depression since my youth. I have tried medication. It made me feel foggy. I have tried exercise, journaling, trying to find new fun things to do, cooking, baking, writing, and everything else that has been suggested to me. Guess what? It doesn't work for me. How many other people in the world do you think are similar to me? (Rhetorical). Let's spread awareness and give love to anyone who needs it. Everyone needs it.


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