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Raising Awareness of Mental Illness

January 19, 2017

 

Mental illness is a serious health epidemic that gets very little attention. It is often stigmatized and pushed under the rug. This has to change. In order for us to confront our mental health issues, improve upon them, and ultimately, treat them effectively, we have to have an open, honest dialogue about the mental health challenges people face. We can no longer just ignore them or hide them because they are weird, different, or scary.

 

An estimated 26% of Americans over the age of 18 suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year. This translates to approximately 60 million Americans every year. About 6% of Americans suffer from a severe mental illness. They also often suffer more than one mental disorder at a time.

 

The most common mental disorders are*:

  1. Mood Disorders

    1. Depression, bipolar disorder

    2. 21 million American adults

  2. Suicide

    1. 44,193 Americans die by suicide each year, mostly men

    2. More than 90% of suicide deaths are by people with a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly depression or substance abuse disorder

  3. Schizophrenia

    1. About 2.4 million Americans live with this disorder

    2. It occurs in men and women with equal frequency

  4. Anxiety Disorders

    1. 40 million Americans have some type of anxiety disorder

    2. These typically coincide with depression or substance abuse

  5. Panic Disorders

    1. 6 million American adults

    2. Agoraphobia-fear of being in any place where it would be hard to escape

  6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    1. 2.2 million American adults

    2. Begins in childhood or adolescence

  7. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    1. 7.7 million American adults

    2. Often occurs after violent experiences, such as rape, mugging, domestic violence, terrorism, natural or man-made disasters, military combat, and accidents

  8. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    1. 6.8 million American adults

    2. Median age of onset is 31

  9. Social Phobia

    1. 15 million American adults

    2. Typical age of onset is 13

  10. Eating Disorders

    1. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating are the most common

    2. Females are much more likely to develop an eating disorder

  11. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    1. 4.1% of adults

    2. Typical onset in preschool or early elementary school

  12. Autism

    1. Difficult to put an accurate number on how many people suffer

    2. Develops in early childhood and is four times more common in boys

  13. Alzheimer’s Disease

    1. 4.5 million Americans

    2. Most common cause of dementia for people age 65 and older

 

We both have had personal and devastating experiences related to mental illness. This is why we are writing this post. We want to raise awareness and help bring about positive change. If you are personally suffering from any type of mental illness, do not be afraid! There is nothing wrong or unusual with you at all. Please talk to your family, friends, or any doctors that you have access to. Do not ever be afraid to share the way you feel or what you are thinking or suffering through. There is always help available and always a light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up.

 

We would also like to make an announcement that we are trying to do our small part to help combat the mental illness epidemic. Lindsay’s brother recently passed away of an overdose. He had battled mental illness and substance abuse the majority of his life. He was also an amazing photographer. In tribute of her brother's life, we will be selling a selection of canvas prints of his photography on our online store. We will donate 10% of all our profits from the sale of our canvas prints to the following groups:

  1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

  2. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

  3. Amy Winehouse Foundation

 

You can find our canvas prints here.

 

 

One last thing before we close out this post. It is up to each and everyone of us to combat mental illness and improve health outcomes for those afflicted by it.

 

The best ways to fight mental illness are:

  1. Talk openly about mental health

  2. Educate yourself and help educate others

  3. Be aware of the words you use

  4. Treat mental and physical illness equably

  5. Be compassionate to those living with a mental health condition

  6. Advocate for mental health reform

  7. Get a pet

  8. Spend more time outside and in nature

These are just some of the many ways you can help combat mental illness today.

 

Yours Truly,

Nic

The MM Family

 

*Statistics from thekimfoundation.org

 

 

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