Mental Health America (MHA) works tirelessly to help people who are living with mental illness. Each May, the organization sponsors an annual observance to raise awareness about the many forms of mental disorders affecting Americans. Helping men and women to place a greater emphasis on overall well-being is a primary mission of Mental Health Month 2019.
MHA isn’t alone in the campaign to bring mental disease into the light and to urge more people to care about behavioral health and mood disorders. This month and beyond, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is also fighting stigma. The organization is also providing support, educating the public, and advocating for policies that can assist people affected by mental illness.
Behavioral health and mood disorders – including alcohol and substance use disorders – affect millions of people across the country. It’s critical that those impacted by psychological issues receive compassion and empathy from their communities, rather than stigma and shame.
Help is available, evidence-based treatments improve quality of life; but, many resist outside assistance for fear of social consequences. Stigma silences America’s most vulnerable and prevents men and women from finding recovery.
Mental Health Month is an opportunity to educate society on the science of mental illness. Armed with facts, individuals are able to develop more informed views on mental health conditions. Practically every family in the United States has at least one member who is affected by a mental health disorder; conditions can include:
Those who require treatment for a use disorder are often living with another type of mental illness as well. When a condition, such as depression, accompanies addiction, the patient is said to have a co-occurring disorder or dual-diagnosis. Treatment and recovery outcomes are dependent on addressing each morbidity concurrently.
When a person has a mental illness, it is only natural that they would like to alleviate their symptoms. Some people find that alcohol and illicit drug use can keep their symptoms at bay, for a time. The practice of using mind-altering substances to combat mental health disorder symptoms is known as self-medication.
The reality is that alcohol and substance use is not an effective remedy for any mental illness. The behavior, on the other hand, will have a deleterious effect on one’s life; self-medication worsens symptoms and often leads to addiction.
1 in 5 adults in America experiences a mental illness, according to NAMI. The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) reports that approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Campaigns like Mental Health Month are meant to have an impact on the statistics above. Raising awareness, eroding stigma, and encouraging more people to seek treatment saves lives. The time has come for society to stop looking at mental illness differently than other life-threatening diseases.
Both MHA and NAMI are asking everyone to care about mental health, and to join the effort to raise awareness. If you would like to get involved, there is a plethora of information about joining the MHM 2019 effort here and here.
At the Southern California Addiction Center, we specialize in dual-diagnosis treatment. We rely on evidence-based approaches to treating addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our highly trained staff handles each client with care, compassion, and kindness; helping men and women get their lives back on track.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and how to begin the life-changing journey of recovery. Our primary vision at SCAC is to rescue and transform!