People in the United States have recognized Mental Health Awareness Month in May since 1949 to raise awareness about mental health. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental health condition, according to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
There is a wide variety of mental health conditions identified by the American Psychological Society. The latest diagnostic manual (DSM-V) has 157 different diagnoses. Common ones identified are:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Depressive disorders
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Substance-related disorders
Mental Health in Those with Disabilities
Individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also experience mental illness as well. When interacting with or supporting individuals who have disabilities, it is important to consider that they may also experience a mental health condition as well. Understanding mental illness allows professionals to provide appropriate services, interventions, and supports.
How is Mental Illness Viewed by the Public?
Many people don’t disclose mental illnesses due to the stigma associated. Social stigma is the reaction that the general public has to people with mental illness. There is also self-stigma, which is the prejudice people living with mental illness hold toward themselves. Both are very real and are in the form of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination.
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Each year organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) work hard to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, consider that healthy means not only being physically healthy, but mentally healthy. Understand the warning signs and symptoms and where to turn for help.
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