Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017), according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). One in five children, either currently or at some point during their life, has had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
Mental illnesses include many conditions from obsessive-compulsion disorder and anxiety, to bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia, each of which vary in severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Alarmingly, only about half of people with mental illnesses in the U.S. receive treatment.
A person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, it could affect their mental health. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for an ill relative or experiencing economic hardship.
Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.
Many organizations are dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health issues including the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and and working to encourage others to share their story and seek help.
The NIH provides the following resources:
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people often do not get help, because they do not know where to start and advise contacting your primary care doctor or another health professional about mental health problems.
If you or you know someone in need of immediate help, call the free Mental Health Hotline from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust offers preventive care services for men, women and children that include testing/screening for many health concerns, including depression/mental health issues. For more information visit, https://www.cbservices.org/health_resources_tools.php.