When something seems off with our body, like a pain in the chest, experiencing trouble breathing, or a questionable spot on our breast, we often seek out help from our doctor immediately — before it’s too late.
But why don’t we do the same when it comes to mental health?
“Nobody really struggles with mental illness.”
False. To say many people aren’t affected by mental health problems is totally inaccurate.
According to MentalHealth.gov — a website formed by way of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in every five American adults reportedly had mental health problems in 2020.
In the same year, one in six young people experienced a major depressive episode. One in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.
Suicide, closely connected to mental health problems, is currently one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. It was actually the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 — nearly double the number of lives lost to homicide.
Mental health problems are a growing concern across the nation, as all of these totals are higher than in years past.
The good news is, there are a plethora of treatment options and support systems waiting to assist someone in need.
The bad news, it seems not many are looking for help.
According to nonprofit organization Mental Health America, over half of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. That means approximately 27 million adults in the U.S. struggling daily are going untreated.
More than 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Even in states with the greatest access, nearly one in three are going without treatment.
So, what’s the hold up?
Most certainly to blame are the stigmas out there.
Like, “Oh, that person is just crazy.”
Or, “It’s OK, just try harder.”
And, “Give them time, they’ll just snap out of it.”
These are all negative stereotypes concerning mental health and completely absurd.
It’s time to kick those stigmas to the curb and realize mental illness should get as much — if not more — attention as other forms of illness. Because, after all, the power of the mind controls the rest of the body.
“But where do I turn?”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, talk to a doctor or another health professional about what’s going on. Call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line at 1-800-715-4225. In addition, if you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Crisis center workers on on standby and are available to talk 24/7.
If ever in a life-threatening situation, call 911.
May is Mental Health Month and has been observed as such in the U.S. since 1949. Let’s work together, as a community, to help continue raising awareness about the realities of mental health.
Our View on the Issue is an opinion of The News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher Taylor Beck and News Editor Tom Spigolon.