Raising Awareness of Mental Illness


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

  2. Depression, bipolar disorder

  3. 21 million American adults

  4. Suicide

  5. 44,193 Americans die by suicide each year, mostly men

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

  7. Schizophrenia

  8. About 2.4 million Americans live with this disorder

  9. It occurs in men and women with equal frequency

  10. Anxiety Disorders

  11. 40 million Americans have some type of anxiety disorder

  12. These typically coincide with depression or substance abuse

  13. Panic Disorders

  14. 6 million American adults

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

  16. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  17. 2.2 million American adults

  18. Begins in childhood or adolescence

  19. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  20. 7.7 million American adults

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

  22. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  23. 6.8 million American adults

  24. Median age of onset is 31

  25. Social Phobia

  26. 15 million American adults

  27. Typical age of onset is 13

  28. Eating Disorders

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

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

  31. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  32. 4.1% of adults

  33. Typical onset in preschool or early elementary school

  34. Autism

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

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

  37. Alzheimer’s Disease

  38. 4.5 million Americans

  39. 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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