is Mental Health Awareness month
--Imagine being one of the 57 million persons in the United States with mental illness.
--Imagine the struggle or inability to function in home life, job, and personal relationships.
--Imagine the shame and fear of your family to realize you have a mental illness and not knowing what to do about it until it is too late.
--Imagine the way people treat you and your family in your time of desperation and need.
May is Mental Health Awareness month, a time to recognize mental illness exists. Professionals acknowledge brain chemistry imbalance may be due to heredity, excessive stress, substance abuse or a combination. Those who suffer from mental illness often experience hostility, discrimination and stigma from others rather than compassion and understanding. If you are a family with a loved one with mental illness, you understand, too well, this preventable circumstance.
Sadly, many health insurance plans do not cover mental illness. For those without health insurance, acute and severe episodes are handled through the hospital emergency rooms or arrest and incarceration. And the ultimate act of suicide should be disturbing to all. In 2011, 284 people completed suicide in Idaho—To dramatize the effect, it is an equivalent of two fully loaded 737 aircrafts that crash with no survivors.
The topic of mental illness is far reaching and complex considering the degree of severity for individuals. For many, a person must commit a crime to get services. Currently Idaho’s state prison system is the defacto treatment facility where approximately 25% of state incarcerated individuals receive psychotropic medication.
The facts taken from Mental Health America 2013 newsletter:
Most people can lead productive lives within their communities thanks to a variety of supports, programs, and/or medications;
People with mental illnesses can recover and resume normal activities.
The vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent. In the cases when violence does occur, the incidence typically results from the same reasons as with the general public such as feeling threatened or excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs.
People with mental illnesses, like everyone else, have the potential to work at any level depending on their own abilities, experience and motivation.
One in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year; One in17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder and about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder (NAMI fact)
--Imagine a statewide mental health system where those afflicted with mental illness can access care in early stages and receive treatment.
--Imagine our society treating those with mental illness, adults and children, with dignity, respect and compassion.
--Imagine Idaho’s legislature making mental health a priority.
--Imagine no Stigma associated with mental illness.
These are things to consider during Mental Health Awareness month.
Jim Rehder, Chair
Regional II Mental Health Board