One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.
Mental Health Facts:
The National Association for Mental Health Alliance reports that:
- 20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition
- 11% of youth have a mood disorder
- 10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder
- 8% of youth have an anxiety disorder
- 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition.
- 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness.
- 60 million people in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.
- Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.
- African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of whites in the past year, and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
- 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but suicide is preventable and 3rd leading cause of death for teenagers.
- The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90% of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with the right treatments and supports.
- Additional facts and citations are available at Mental Health by the Numbers.
What Is Stigma?
People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt as a judgement from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.
Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.
There is a rise in childhood and Adolescent Mental Health. Please help children and teens get the help they need so that they don’t become adults living with debilitating mental health issues.
For more information or to have your child assessed please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheri Mitschelen, LCSW, RPT/S is the owner and clinical director of Crossroads Family Counseling Center, LLC, in Fairfax, Va. She has more than 25 years’ experience working with children, adolescents and families. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech’s Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program and George Mason University School of Social Work.
Resource: National Alliance For Mental Health https://www.nami.org/mentalhealthmonth