Mental Health has been a neglected part of our healthcare for many years. It is only recently that the stigma that was attached to our mental status has been declining significantly. People have begun to recognize how vital it is to stay healthy mentally, as our emotional health can take a heavy toll on our physical health. And this can be a vicious circle, too, where if you are physically ill, your mental health is usually affected as well. The two are interconnected.
Our mental health has an impact on our physical, financial, and social lives. Mental illness affected almost 20% of Americans in 2018. Think about it, that is 1 in every 5 people. Often, that means almost 1 individual per family unit. In terms of raw numbers, that is 47.6 million people. Frighteningly, suicide has become the second leading cause of death among those aged 10-34. These statistics are provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an agency dedicated to providing “advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives” (NAMI, 2020). Mental illness affects the person, the family, the community, and the world.
It is not healthy to ignore issues of mental health. The longer a person waits, the more complicated matters become. Seek help earlier rather than later. And seek help from a licensed professional, someone who is capable of providing the psychological support needed to help guide you through your personal struggles. The efficacy of treatment for mental illness and substance abuse disorders is well documented and has improved dramatically over the past 50 years (WHO, 2001). Counseling can help you not only in the here and now, but it can help you achieve long-lasting and positive change.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2019). Mental Health by the Numbers. Available at https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
World Health Organization. (2001). The World Health Report 2001: Mental Health – New Understanding, New Hope. Geneva: WHO. Available at http://www.who.int/whr/2001/en/index.html.