Although May is designated for Mental Health Awareness Month, mental illness is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people every day of the year. Because it’s so misunderstood by most, those with mental illness often forgo sharing their condition with others. They’d rather suffer in silence instead of being judged by those ignorant of the daily struggle of living with a mental illness. These people are more than aware of the negative stigmas and opinions that are usually formed by those who don’t live with them. More often than not, the stress and anxiety from attempting to conceal their condition further exacerbates it. To combat this, more education and support about mental illness and those living with them is desperately needed.
By and large, mental illness affects only a small percentage of Americans annually. Roughly, only two to three percent of the population are diagnosed and live with some form of mental illness.
Unfortunately however, statistics show that nearly half of those diagnosed usually end in suicide. Even if a person is complying with everything necessary to live with their mental illness, the possibility of suicide remains with them throughout their lifetime. One can eat a proper diet, get enough sleep and exercise, take their meds while seeking regular therapy, and still be unable to escape suicide’s grasp.
As I’ve stated, I believe if people were more aware and supportive in regards to mental illness, the statistics for suicide would drastically decrease. Increased support, understanding, and interaction with those suffering with mental illness could help awareness to spread immensely. Suicides among adolescents, teens, and young adults is increasing–as is the number of veterans. According to statistics, approximately twenty veterans per day are committing suicide. Recently, due to them not receiving a timely appointment date, a couple of veterans took their lives at their local VA hospital. At schools, kids and adolescents are sometimes being bullied and harassed to the point of being shamed into suicide. Truthfully, no demographic is immune to mental illness–sometimes even our elders feel compelled to take their lives as well. Whether it’s due to the never ending pain of a chronic illness, or even loneliness, some feel the need to end their own lives.
Let’s use the month of May to to become even more aware and vigilant about mental illness. Let’s shine our light on its dangers and the potential treatment options that exist. Let’s use the rest of the year educating ourselves and others while providing much needed support and comfort to those affected.