Why Care? – May is National Mental Health Month

May 10th, 2019 Posted by

Did you know that 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness this year?  Because of this, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) developed the “Why Care?” campaign as an opportunity to share the importance of mental health treatment, support, and services to the millions of people, families, caregivers, and loved ones affected by mental illness.

Who Gets Mental Illness?

Approximately 46.6 million adults in the United States face the reality of managing a mental illness every day.  Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.  Early intervention programs can help.  Individuals with mental health conditions can face an average of an 11-year delay between experiencing symptoms and starting treatment.  Common barriers to treatment include the cost of mental health care and insurance, prejudice and discrimination, and structural barriers like transportation.  Even though most people can experience relief from symptoms and support for their recovery in treatment, less than half of the adults in the United States get the help that they need.

What is Stigma?

People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt like a judgment from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.

Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame, and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma.  It can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.

Why Care?

Care is a simple 4-letter word, but a powerful way to change the lives of people affected by mental illness.  It’s an action.  It’s a feeling.  It’s a gift we give to each other.  People feel loved when someone cares.  People feel heard when someone cares.  People recover when someone cares.  Society changes when someone cares.